Vision for 2016

January – December 2016

Dave Krohn and PattiFrom the Hospital, to Outpatient Clinics, to Extending Care into the Community through Support Teams

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.

Our Staff Chaplains will be developing 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 will learn together 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.

By March, 2016, we will have four new Staff Chaplains who have joined us in the last quarter on our team.  All four of these Chaplains will commit half of their time to see patients in the hospital, and half of their time in the outpatient setting while developing Support Teams for both.

We will track these patients and plan to show that Support Teams can reduce readmission rates of patients with chronic or long term illnesses.

Our departmental goal will be to develop three teams for each Staff Chaplain, approximately 36 teams in 2016.  In the following year, we will develop training programs to teach other healthcare professionals at UAB Medicine how they can start teams for patients as well.

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

by Malcolm Marler, Director of Pastoral Care