Spiritual Health Association – Pastoral Care and Covid-19

Spiritual Health Association The Spiritual Health Association has provided guidance about visits by volunteers or external faith/belief representatives in Hospitals and Hospices, and noted arrangements for sacred spaces in health agencies and hospitals. The the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus is noted, The Victorian Coronavirus response is detailed, the Allied Health Professionals of Australia’s daily advice is linked to and Chaplaincy Innovation Lab Coronavirus response for Chaplains is also advised. An excellent resource page.

Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus 

The Department of Health has developed the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus, which is a useful reference tool for preparing your emergency plan, particularly with respect to pandemic infections. This can be found
here.  Further information on the public health management of COVID-19 is available in the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) National Guidelines for Public Health Units in the Series of National Guidelines (SoNGs) – click

A 24-hour National Coronavirus Health Information Line available on 1800 020 080.  The line provides health and situation information on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ten ways to reduce your risk of coronavirus 

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services have developed a colourful poster with ten simple ways to reduce your risk of coronavirus. Click
here to download the poster.

The Victorian Coronavirus hotline is 1800 675 398 (24 hours)



Victorian Health Services

Spiritual Care provision in health services as at 19 March 2020: 

Spiritual Care continues to be provided in Victorian health services by professional spiritual care practitioners where they are employed. Many practitioners are responding to referrals only and not routinely visiting wards. Palliative care patients and their families, the elderly or isolated patients are given priority. Infection control measures are being adhered to at all times. Reliable and authorised sources of information are below:   

The Department of Health and Human Services:

Allied Health Professions Australia has an information page which is being updated daily:

Visits by volunteers or external faith/belief representatives have been ceased currently unless rituals or sacraments are required especially at the end of life. Some health services are exploring phone or virtual connections for patients with their faith or belief organisation. Support for staff is of a high priority and much appreciated. 

Metropolitan and larger regional health services have stringent protocols regarding who can visit patients and enter the hospital.  At this stage, volunteers are still visiting in smaller regional or rural health services. This situation could change at any time. 

Discussions are occurring about the use of Sacred Spaces. Some health services are ensuring that the social distancing guidelines of 1.5 metres between people is adhered to by reducing the number of chairs and people visiting the Sacred Space at any one time. Clear signage and monitoring is occurring. Infection Control teams continue to assess the situation.  

Some larger gatherings in a confined Sacred Space (even though less than 100 people) such as Friday prayers or Sunday Services are being monitored or cancelled until further notice. Planned events for the next months have been cancelled such as Memorial Services or ANZAC Day commemoration. 

We expect that this situation will change as protocols and restrictions escalate with Covid-19. 


    Chaplaincy Innovation Lab shares resources for chaplains encountering coronavirus

    Strategies for Caring for Ourselves and Our Chaplain Colleagues – click


    Spiritual Health Association


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