What Is a “Support Team?”

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(¿Que es un Grupo de Apoyo?)

A Support Team is a group of volunteers who use a coordinated team approach to meet practical, emotional, and spiritual concerns of a person with a health care need in order to make the person’s recovery easier and less lonely.  Using their particular gifts in caring for that person, they also care for that person’s family and/or care-givers.  The volunteers who comprise a support team work together to offer intentional support to persons with healthcare concerns.

A Team Approach allows people to do what they love, when they can, in a coordinated way, with a built-in support system. This model also makes it easier for the recipient to receive care by communicating all activities through one trusted person.

Teams start in a number of ways.

One, you can start with a person who needs support and build a team around them from your congregation, among your co-workers, neighbors, or friends.

Two, medical personnel working within the UAB hospital system often meet patients who need organized support after the patient is discharged.  The staff person can assist the patient and care-giver/s with organizing and coordinating their friends and family, thereby facilitating a smoother “hand-off” from hospital to home. (We believe this sort of “hand-off” has the potential to reduce the likelihood of preventable readmissions.)

Three, The Support Team Network in the Department of Pastoral Care here at UAB Hospital offers free training and orientation to individuals, medical personnel, congregations, and organizations so that they can start teams for persons they know.

Examples of what a Support Team can do include: a friendly visitor at home or in the hospital, a telephone call of encouragement, a handwritten note of hope, cutting someone’s grass, taking them to a doctor’s appointment, preparing and delivering a meal, picking up medicines from the pharmacy, sharing reading materials or a prayer, and much more.

The UAB Support Team Network is the first program of its kind to be offered by an academic University Medical Center or public hospital. The program is coordinated out of the UAB Pastoral Care department and works with key persons in the UAB Health System as well as with community members.

View this video to get a better feel from what Support Teams can offer.