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Basis for Care Web

Basis for Care Web

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Published by: Interfaith CarePartners on Sep 19, 2011
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04/15/2012

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701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org 
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Basis for Care: Need Vs Merit
Each Caregiving Team determines who they will serve. Some decide they willonly provide respite for caregivers and as a result do not accept referrals for carepartners who live alone. Others decide their Team will serve only members of their owncongregation. It is important for the Team to define the population and type of servicethey feel called to provide. This policy should be designed with input and guidance fromthe clergy or congregational staff member because the Caregiving Team is anexpression of pastoral care provided by the congregation.Occasionally a Team will determine that a care partner does not
deserve 
 service from the Team since they have family members who could be providing care, orthat the care partner made some bad decisions that brought this problem on his orherself. A more common reason for not accepting a care partner is that the family isthought to be able to afford to pay for a provider. There are legitimate reasons (carepartner does not fit team mission, not enough Team members to provide adequate care,care partner is too far away) for opting not to accept a new care partner. Basing careon any consideration other than need is problematic because it is not scriptural and failsto express the value of Caregiving Team ministry.
Caregiving Team ministry provides a special connection of the care partner totheir congregation. Team members are received into the home open only
because they are viewed by the care partner as representing their congregation’s
care and all that that means to the care partner. Therefore, the transactional giftof care provided by the Team is qualitatively different. The care partnerexperiences it differently than the care a family member or paid worker providesbecause it is grounded in a mutual voluntary relationship. Even though the task
accomplished may be identical, the care partner may feel like, “
my congregation
is taking care of me,” or “I am remembered by my congregation.”
Thus, the care
given flows from God’s faithfulness to humanity.
 
A spiritual understanding of the care being received allows access into the homeas it reminds us, each and every visit, of God providing care through theircommunity of faith. Thus, there is a sense of being embraced and rememberedby
God’s people. The message
given to care partners through their experience
of receiving care is that, “this is what
community does; the children of God bear
the burdens of other children of God.”
 
 
701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org 
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The Team member can and often does derive meaning from loving and caringthis way. Through tender acts of hospitality and support, Team members are
participating in the ongoing story of God’s relationship
to humanity. This maytake shape in the spiritual growth of Team members. (Earl Shelp and RonaldSunderland,
Sustaining Presence
. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000, p. 61).
Caregiving Team ministry can also provide a sense of identity for the personsinvolved. Being engaged in ministry can foster a sense of vocation and purpose.
(Roy Fairchild, “Retirement,” in
The Dictionary of Pastoral Care andCounseling
, ed. Rodney Hunter, Nashville: Abingdon, 1990. Pp. 1081-2.) Thissustained sense of identity has implication for Caregiving Team ministry. A casein point, many Team members are approaching retirement or are already retired.Serving on a Caregiving Team can help to maintain a sense of usefulness to thecommunity and may improve their own quality of life by giving them purpose,meaning, satisfaction during a time of life and role transition.
Ronald
Sunderland says it this way, “
The claim of people who are chronically ill or disabled upon the compassion and nurture of the congregation is sharp and clear. Failure to respond with love expressed in prophetic word and hands-on love is a denial of our identification as a servant people of a just and loving 
God.” 
 (Earl Shelp and Ronald Sunderland,
Sustaining Presence
. Nashville: AbingdonPress, 2000, p. 50.) There are numerous scripture passages which give thecongregation of faith the responsibility of serving those in need: Lev. 19: 18;Deut. 10: 18; Ps. 146; Jer. 7: 1-7; and Matt. 25: 31-46. The scriptures are quiteclear, so, if there is a need by someone referred for Care Team® ministry, thatperson becomes a neighbor. The Caregiving Team has a responsibility torespond. In responding with loving care, the Team becomes an extension of thepeople of God
, embodying God’s love in the world.
 
Caregiving Team ministry seeks relationship with the other so that both partiesmay have more meaningful lives. Russell Burck describes
this as a “specialbond that can exist in a community of care…that makes available healing and
sustaining power
” for 
all parties involved. He describes how relationships ofsupport, empathy, and shared vulnerability create deep connections betweenboth parties in a caring relationship. Such relationships are an avenue throughwhich people can find meaning in life and/or experience the sacred. (J. Russell
Burck, “Community, Fellowship
 
and Care.” in
The Dictionary of Pastoral Careand Counseling
, ed. Rodney Hunter, Nashville: Abingdon, 1990. pp. 202-3)
 
 
701 N. Post Oak Rd., Ste. 330, Houston, TX 77024 | 713-682-5995info@interfaithcarepartners.org|www.interfaithcarepartners.org 
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Exercise: Do we accept this care partner?
Read the profile of each person and have the team discuss whether or not they wouldpartner with them. Using a white board or easel, list the needs of each person and thepros and cons of entering into a caring relationship with him or her. Have the team takesome time to reflect upon their own call to be in service, the needs of the care partners,and what entering into relationship could mean for both the prospective care partnerand the Caregiving Team.
Joe Smith
Joe Smith is an 80 year old widower who lives alone. Though he is not a member of thecongregation, he lives a few blocks from the church/synagogue and has been involvedin community activities at the church/synagogue.
Joe’s son Bob contacted us because
he feels his father needs some help. Bob is a lawyer/politician who lives in Austin andcan only see Joe two times a month or less. Joe says he could use help getting aroundtown. His eyesight is poor, so he no longer drives. He says the only time he gets to beout and around people is when his son makes it into town. Some weeks Meals onWheels is his sole personal contact. Joe uses a walker when outside of his home, butis relatively healthy otherwise. He enjoys talking politics and listening to jazz.
Evelia Zapata
Evelia Zapata is a 94 year old widow. She has outlived both her daughter and son. Herthree grandchildren live out of state. They visit as often as possible, usually every 2months or so. She had hip surgery recently. She has visiting nurses to check on herhealing incision and for some physical therapy. Apart from these visits, Evelia reportsrarely seeing or talking to anyone. Evelia loves baking and entertaining, but she saysall her friends have died or moved closer to their own families. She is bilingual, wouldenjoy a Spanish speaker, but is fluent in English. In addition to companionship, sheneeds help with transportation and small household tasks. Evelia lives in a trailer parkin a less desirable section of town a few miles away. Evelia is afraid to use Metro Lift.
Marta Kaplan
Marta Kaplan is a 72 year old divorced woman who is estranged from her family. Shehas attended the congregation sporadically as a visitor over the past few months.Recently, she came into the office to ask for assistance. Marta has multiple healthproblems. Of note are cirrhosis of the liver and emphysema. Marta is in a wheelchairand uses oxygen. She relies on Metro Lift
for transportation to and from her doctor’s
appointments. Marta reports being lonely and says she would enjoy a friend who likesplaying cards. She is a smoker and lives with two cats.

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