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‘Spiritual strength: does it matter?

Join us on Wednesday, 10 February 2021, 7pm – 9pm
For our second Ageing and Spirituality webinar
Registration available below

The Selwyn Foundation invites you to join our second Ageing and Spirituality Webinar.

Ageing & Spirituality Seminar via Webinar on 10 February 2021

The Selwyn Foundation invites you to join us on Wednesday 10 February 2021 from 7pm – 9pm for an interactive webinar where Selwyn Foundation Spiritual Director Reverend Caroline Leys and Hospice NZ Clinical Advisor Professor Rod MacLeod will discuss the topic ‘Spiritual strength: does it matter?

The focus of the discussion will be on older people, although what we discuss will have some relevance for death from mid-life years, but not so much relevance for children and young adults. The discussion will expand on the work Rod referred to in the Selwyn Foundation Ageing & Spirituality Webinar broadcast on 14 October 2020.  That work for the European Association for Palliative Care is described by Marc Haufe et al from Department of Care Ethics, University Humanistic Studies, Netherlands.

Rod suggested that instead of talking about spiritual care we need to talk about caring in a spiritual way. Haufe et al[1] say, “spiritual wellbeing has repeatedly been found to be associated with positive psychosocial functioning and overall quality of life in patients receiving palliative care. Spiritual support from a patient’s medical team or chaplain seems to contribute to this. Many patients look to their doctors and nurses to help them make sense of their spiritual issues. But many doctors and nurses do not feel comfortable or equipped to do so. This, in part, is because palliative care has predominately focused on the prevention and relief of physical and psychosocial problems to improve quality of life.” 

On 10 February 2021, Caroline Leys and Rod MacLeod will discuss the five spiritual strengths identified by Haufe et al; and how to support and enable people to pursue and claim these five strengths before they die:

1: Meaning: finding significance, maintaining normalcy, experiencing sanctuaries, reassessing importance, reconstructing a positive self.

2: Connection: deeper sharing, opening up, caring for each other, looking at continuation of the generations (which is part of who am I, what is my legacy).

3: Agency: capacity to do and affect, maintaining control, refocusing goals, continuously adapting to what is happening on a day-to-day basis and sometimes hour-by-hour.

4: Hope: uplifting future, setting special targets, imagining alterative outcomes, building a collection, extending wishes.

5: Faith: trusting the supernatural (i.e. the sacred), living the tradition, relating to a benevolent force.

On the Webinar Rod and Caroline will discuss this expanded way of viewing spirituality, and suggest how individual professionals and Teams can move into this way of working. They will answer questions from the audience. Rod and Caroline invite you to join them to advance the discussion (see registration details below). Please forward the link to this page to health & social services professionals and clergy you consider may be interested in joining this webinar.    

[1] Marc Haufe, Carlo Leget, Marieke Potma, & Saskia Teunissen. How can existential or spiritual strengths be fostered in palliative care? An interpretive synthesis of recent literature. British Medical Journal (BMJ) Supportive and Palliative Care 2020;0:1-11.doi:10.1136/bmjspcare-2020-002379.

Kotuku Point, Great Barrier Island, facing north to Hawaiki Nui photo by Stephen Leys ©

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Caroline Leys

Caroline is an Anglican Priest and is a graduate of the General Seminary, New York with an S.T.M. (Masters) of Ascetical Studies. Since ordination as priest in 1990 she has worked in private practice as a therapist, facilitator, trainer and more recently in ministry and business development. Caroline is a certified Sageing Leader for Sage-ing International.

Previously Caroline gained her Registered Nurse (Comprehensive) qualification from AIT. She is a mother and grandmother and has been married to Stephen for over 40 years.

As Director, Spiritual Care for the Selwyn Foundation, Caroline leads strategic development of the spiritual wellbeing dimension of The Selwyn Way — which is our approach to the care and wellbeing of all who connect with us. The intention is that spirituality is embedded and accessible across everything the Foundation does as a charity, in our villages, through our community services, and through education and knowledge exchange for staff, older people and their families.

Rod MacLeod MNZM, MB ChB, MMedEd, PhD, FRCGP, FAChPM

Rod Macleod was until last year, Palliative Medicine Specialist at Harbour Hospice and is now Clinical Advisor to Hospice New Zealand. He has worked in specialist palliative care for thirty years in England, New Zealand and Australia.

In 2003, he was appointed the inaugural South Link Health Professor in Palliative Care at the University of Otago, Dunedin School of Medicine and in 2013 was appointed Conjoint Professor in Palliative Care at the University of Sydney.

He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles in the area of palliative care in national and international journals and has written over 20 book chapters for palliative care texts. He is co-Editor in Chief of the Textbook of Palliative Care published by Springer last year.

He is one of the authors of The Palliative Care Handbook which has become a freely available standard text for health care professionals in New Zealand and more recently New South Wales.

He was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2015.