The older person’s charity, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, is one of the largest employers of chaplains within the care sector supporting its 7,700 residents and families in care homes and retirement living schemes.
‘Care of the Spirit’ follows Richard Golding, chaplain at MHA Starr Hills care home in Lytham St Annes, and features interviews with residents, staff and family members about how his role helps support them.
Chaplains make sure that the spiritual needs of residents are met, as well as MHA meeting their physical and mental needs. They are there for people of all faiths and those who hold non-religious beliefs.
MHA was set up by the Methodist Church in 1943, years before the current welfare state and NHS were founded. It has always had chaplaincy support within its care homes although for many decades this was provided voluntarily by local Ministers and church members.
However, as the chaplain’s role developed and their contribution to the lives of residents grew, they became paid-for roles, funded from charitable donations. Today MHA employs 140 chaplains across its 90 care homes and 72 retirement living schemes, providing 78,970 hours of support for residents, families and also staff, and is considered the leading employer of chaplains in the care sector.
Richard describes his role as ‘to make sure there is a sense of community in the home, of togetherness, of belonging, of purpose, of pleasure, of fun, of joy, of support, of comfort and of healing’.
Another Chaplain talks about it being about ‘enabling people to get to that place where they can feel calm and fulfilled’.
Director of Chaplaincy and Spirituality, the Rev Dr Chris Swift, said: “At MHA we are able to truly say we care for the mind, body and spirit of our residents and their families, something we are very proud of.
“Chaplains are there for everyone. They are good listeners and build effective relationships with residents, families and colleagues. They provide a reassuring influence in a home. They are there to support people, whether they have a religious faith or not.”