By Jenni Frumer, PhD, LCSW, MSEd

Older adults often seek meaning when experiencing illness or when facing end-of-life issues. A renewed inclusion of spirituality in healthcare contributes to enhanced quality of life for the more than 3,600 older adults MorseLife Health System serves daily in the community and on its 50-acre campus in West Palm Beach.

While our population is diverse, MorseLife Health System has a large population of secular and religious Jewish older adults in our care and we have re-committed to JewishLife programming, which promotes a culture of heightened compassion and caring among healthcare workers and their supervisors.

An emphasis on wellness has been initiated through the implementation of programs such as monthly healing circles (Mi Sheberach) and weekly discussions with visiting Rabbis, holiday commemorations, celebrations and educational programs.

Because so many of our patients are also Holocaust Survivors, MorseLife Health System has implemented a NOW for Holocaust Survivors Initiative, which identifies and specifically cares for Survivors who may receive a full range of services at no cost to them or their families.

A recent community project that brough spirituality to older adult residents and younger generations involved the painting of thousands of butterflies representing the 1.5 million children who were murdered by the Nazis. The project will culminate in a sculpture on the campus to remind us spiritually that butterflies are the symbol of hope, resilience, and freedom. In encouraging us to seek meaning from the past for our lives today, it will be a constant reminder to repair the world (Tikun Olam).

Numerous scientific articles support the connection between faith and positive health outcomes. Spirituality in healthcare settings is recognized as essential in our interactions with those we serve as well as among our employees.

Training for caregivers includes person-centered trauma-informed care. A trauma-informed approach focuses on voice and choice, psychological, physical, and spiritual safety, empowerment, transparency, and trustworthiness. These principles are core and common values, ethics, and incorporate a philosophy of deep caring and respect for an individual’s beliefs.

By fulfilling our obligation to enhance spirituality in health care, we can impact our goal of encouraging greater health and wellbeing for the body, the mind, and the soul.

Jenni Frumer is the director of the MorseLife NOW for Holocaust Survivors Initiative.