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Spiritual Care in Dementia - Nurturing the Human Spirit

In order to provide quality care there needs to be some understanding of the person's sense of reality. This reality can be detected through their behaviours and understood within the context of their whole life. Their spiritual being can be seen at times when least expected. They may hold on tightly to people, objects or events which mean something to them that is not immediately obvious to their carers, family or friends. The gerontic nurse needs to explore these cues in search of an understanding of the person's life meaning. At these times spirituality can be the only thing that is central to their life; what they feel and remember are elements of that spiritual self. No interaction can be left unexplored. While seemingly trivial or unimportant, their cues and interactions hold the key to providing spiritual care - to supporting the personhood, their self.

Contents include

  • The journey continues - spiritual care in dementia
  • Personhood in dementia
  • Moments of clarity - nurturing the mind, body and soul in dementia
  • Tender, loving care: the role of the nurse
  • Spiritual assessment and the meaning of hope
  • Coping with grief and loss
  • The use of rituals, prayer and symbols
  • Dreamtime: the role of reminiscence
  • Helping humour
  • Pastoral care and parish nursing
  • The journey beyond: images of the twilight
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Author / Editor Biographies

RN, BScN, MSAHealth and PhD.
Irene Coulson is the Associate Professor in Nursing and Gerontology at the University of New England in New South Wales. She has many years of experience in research, education, clinical practice, and working with families and persons with dementia in Canada and Australia. She has a special interest in the spiritual care of families and persons suffering from dementia. Irene has developed the Total Environment Quality of Care Model which provides guidance in the way in which carers interact with residents, demonstrates how the physical environment is laid out, and identifies the need to assess...
RN, DipNEd, BSc(Hons), PhD and FRCNA.
Sue Ronaldson is Foundation Chair in Nursing of Australian Catholic University and St Vincent's Health Care Campus, Darlinghurst (Sacred Heart Hospice, St Vincent's Hospital and St Vincent's Private Hospital), in Sydney. Sue has established the Nursing Research Unit located at St Vincent's Health Care Campus. She has a long-standing interest and much experience in working with nurses in aged-care facilities. Sue has a particular interest in nurses' caring approaches to addressing psychosocial and spiritual needs of older people living with dementia in long-term care settings. She has published...

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