Spiritual boost for Gold Coast Health patients and staff

GOLD COAST Health patients and their families can now access a greater diversity of spiritual care than ever at the Gold Coast University Hospital, with a major expansion of its Multifaith and Chaplaincy Department.

Spiritual carers from eight faith and denominational communities will undergo orientation at the Hospital today, only a month after another two joined the service, including what is believed to be Australia’s first ordained Interfaith Hospital Chaplain.

The growth in spiritual care means patients, staff and their families will be able to experience the presence, care and support of spiritual carers from seven different faith groups, including Bahai, Buddhist, Hindu and Islam, and nine Christian denominations.


Gold Coast Health Multifaith and Chaplaincy Department Co-ordinator Rev Terry Ayling, a Uniting Church minister, said the growth and reshaping of the spiritual care team would increase the service’s capacity to serve people’s needs.

“While our spiritual care team has always sought to help anyone regardless of their beliefs, it will be wonderful to be able to connect more patients with spiritual carers of their own faith and tradition,” he said.

“Our work of simply being alongside people is immensely rewarding, be it a visit to a patient’s bedside, helping family members through emotional periods or being a companion to a person who finds themselves in hospital with little social support.

“We also seek to serve and encourage staff who, through the very nature of their professions, often find themselves emotionally drained from their healing work.”

The new spiritual carers include Liz Lotscher, believed to be Australia’s first ordained Interfaith Hospital Chaplain and whose training covers 12 of the world’s religions.

The denominations and faiths represented at Gold Coast Health include:
• Anglican – Jo McDiarmid
• Bahai – Kay Chiswell
• Buddhist – Susila Scott
• Greek Orthodox – Fr Romanos Stergious
• Hindu (Hare Krishna) – Radharani Das
• Interfaith – Liz Lotscher
• Jehovah’s Witness – Roger Brown
• Jewish – Rabbi Nir Gurevitch
• Lutheran – Sue Enchelmaier
• Muslim – Imam Imram Husain
• Roman Catholic – Selyn Petrovic
• Salvation Army – Les Guy
• Seventh Day Adventist – Leon Powrie
• Uniting – Rev Terry Ayling