Aged care nurses are dedicated to ensuring that our seniors live their lives to the fullest – living with purpose.
But who cares for the carers?
To reduce the likelihood of aged care employees developing compassion fatigue, the chaplaincy team at the Carinity Clifford House seniors’ community has introduced ‘Tea for the Soul’.
Carinity Clifford House staff including nurses and personal carers can enjoy some special ‘me time’ to help them refresh and rejuvenate during the working day.
A small room at the aged care community in Brisbane is set up as a mini-retreat which includes the provision of morning tea and relaxation activities.
Aromatherapy, relaxation music, a massage chair and inspirational quotes and verses on the walls also help to create a welcoming serene haven for staff.
Carinity Clifford House Chaplain Gwenda Jayawardhana, who devised Tea for the Soul, says the bi-monthly morning tea “provides a mini-retreat from stresses of the workday”.
“Tea for the Soul provides staff with a chance to talk and debrief in a safe environment, especially after the death of a resident they may have helped care for,” Gwenda says.
“Carinity cares for our staff as much as the people entrusted into our care. As a chaplain our nurses and support service staff can come to me to chat about any concerns they have or just to discuss how they are feeling.”
The Tea for the Soul initiative has been eagerly welcomed by Carinity Clifford House staff.
Registered Nurse Sangam Kunwar says it is “really good to take a break from the floor” of the aged care community in Wooloowin.
“I love everything about it: the setup, the cup of tea with everyone, catching up together and asking how we’ve been doing, sharing our own points of view,” Sangam says.
Support Services team member Ruth Turner says she feels rejuvenated after enjoying Tea for the Soul.
“The setup is wonderful. It’s different to sitting in the staffroom. You can’t relax in the staffroom. We love the music, it’s so relaxing and afterwards we’re ready for our next work stint,” Ruth says.
Gwenda conceived Tea for the Soul after reading about similar initiatives designed to assist the wellbeing of hospital nurses in the United States.
Carinity Clifford House Residential ManagerAfshan Alwani says Tea for the Soul is an important adjunct to prevent compassion fatigue.
“Compassion fatigue and burnout can occur for those who care for the elderly or people living with a disability or illness for prolonged periods, or when a carer absorbs the trauma and emotional stresses of others,” Afshan says.
“Due to the nature of our work in caring for people it is important for each of us to have appropriate self-care strategies in place, to help our staff maintain good mental wellbeing.”