The Support Team Bridge

From the Hospital, to Outpatient Clinics, to Extending Care into the Community through Support Teams

Dave Krohn and Patti

We understand that patients live in a community, and their whole world is not the hospital or doctor’s office.  Our challenge is to expand our pastoral care into the community through the utilization of our unique Support Team model.

A support team is a group of volunteers (neighbors, friends, co-workers, congregational members) who use a coordinated team approach to meet practical, emotional, and spiritual concerns of a person with a health care need.

Examples of what a Support Team can do include: a friendly visitor at home, 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.

We develop Support Teams for our patients as a way of extending our care for them at home.  When we visit patients in the hospital or doctor’s office, we will look for patients who are a good fit for a Support Team, present the idea to them to get their consent, invite persons they know to an organizational meeting (orientation), and lead that orientation to launch the team.

We learn how to streamline the process in order to make it easier for the patient and family to get the support they need when they need it.

More information can be found at http://uabpastoralcare.org/supportteams/ and on our Support Team Network site at http://supportteams.org.

by Malcolm Marler, Sr. Director of Pastoral Care