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Holistic help in difficult times: spiritual care volunteer course this fall

July 19, 2018 - It is the nature of the human condition that difficult and challenging situations may sometimes arise. This is especially true for patients in hospitals and residents in personal care homes. It is during these most trying times that spiritual care becomes essential towards helping people cope and maintain their courage and inner strength.

Learning to care for people with understanding and compassion is the essence of the Spirit of Caring, a course offered this autumn through the Interlake–Eastern Regional Health Authority (IERHA). It’s a nine week series that prepares volunteers in a health care setting on how to support those suffering, trauma, uncertainty or loss.

“Spirituality contributes to health in many ways,” says Marion Magnusson, regional spiritual health services coordinator for the IERHA. “In the midst of a health crisis, patients may need to regain their spiritual focus, and reconnect with their beliefs. Spiritual care offers holistic healing in helping patients find their peace.”

Open to all in the region, the Spirit of Caring offers nine weekly sessions of 2.5 hours to guide volunteers on how to attend to spiritual distress. Taking place at the Fisher Branch Personal Care Home, participants will explore a variety of topics including: understanding suffering and compassion, dying and death, trauma and crisis, communication, prayer, meditation and rituals. Registration is now open for the course that will run every Tuesday starting September 11.

“The need will always be great,” Magnusson says. “No matter how much one gives, more spiritual health care is needed. Spiritual care professionals and volunteers exist for that singular purpose: to provide spiritual health care to patients.”

All course fees will be waived for those who go onto becoming a spiritual health services volunteer in any of the Regional Health Authorities in Manitoba. Deadline for registration is August 31. For details and / or to register, contact Marion Magnusson at 204-785-7028, cell: 204-641-1379 or via email: mmagnusson@ierha.ca.

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