Support teams are groups of volunteers who use a coordinated team approach to meet practical, emotional, and spiritual concerns of people with health care challenges, to help ease their recovery through shared humanity. Support team volunteers work together to offer organized, intentional support to these persons. In using their particular gifts to care for someone, they indirectly support that person’s family and/or caregivers.
The team approach allows team members to share their particular gifts and interests, when they can and in a coordinated way. This model makes it easier for the person to receive care, with all activities being coordinated through one trusted individual.
At UAB Medicine, support teams are assisted by the Department of Pastoral Care’s Support Team Network, which is one of the department’s community outreach ministries. The Support Team Network is available to all people, regardless of their relationship to UAB Medicine. This video explains more about support groups, including their four basic principles. Learn more about UAB Pastoral Care at uabpastoralcare.org.
How Teams Begin
Build a team around a person you know who needs support. The team may consist of people from among your congregation, co-workers, neighbors, and/or friends.
Medical personnel often get to know patients who need organized support after discharge. These health care workers can assist patients and caregivers by organizing and coordinating friends and family to provide support and ease the transition from hospital to home. We believe that this sort of “handoff” can help prevent hospital readmissions.
Community Education and Educational Resources
Free training and orientation for individuals, medical personnel, congregations, and organizations can be a good way to meet team members and form a group. UAB Medicine’s Department of Pastoral Care offers such training and assistance in starting a support team.
What Support Teams Do
Here are just a few of the many ways that support teams can help someone:
- Make friendly visits to their home or in the hospital
- Telephone calls of encouragement
- Send handwritten notes of hope
- Mow someone’s lawn
- Drive someone to a doctor’s appointment
- Prepare and deliver a meal
- Pick up medication from the pharmacy
- Share reading materials or a prayer
Where to Share This Information
- Through email
- Tell friends and family