Support Teams are groups of volunteers who use a coordinated team approach to meet practical, emotional, and spiritual concerns of a person with health care concerns to ease their recovery through shared humanness. Volunteers who comprise a support team work together offering intentional support to these persons. In using their particular gifts in caring for someone, they also are caring for that person’s family and/or care-givers.
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 makes it easier for the recipient to receive care with all activities being coordinated through one trusted person.
How Teams Begin
Organically – Personal Connections
Build a team around a person you know who needs support. The team may consist of persons from your congregation, co-workers, neighbors, or friends.
Medically – Medical Staff
Medical personnel meet patients who need organized support after discharge. The staff person can assist the patient and care-giver(s) with organizing and coordinating friends and family to provide support and smooth the “hand-off” from hospital to home. We believe this sort of “hand-off” has the potential to reduce the likelihood of preventable re-admissions.
Educationally – Community Education and Educational Resources
Benefit from free training and orientation to individuals, medical personnel, congregations, and organizations. The Support Team Network in the Department of Pastoral Care at UAB Hospital offers training to enable team creation for persons needing support.
What Support Teams Do
Make friendly visits at home or in the hospital and telephone calls of encouragement; send handwritten notes of hope; cut someone’s grass; provide transportation to a doctor’s appointment; prepare and deliver a meal; pick up medicines from the pharmacy; share reading materials or a prayer; and much, much more.