Every person with a health care need will have a loving and supportive community.
The Support Team Network teaches volunteer teams how to work together to care for the practical, emotional, and spiritual concerns of persons with health care needs.
Working together to share the care!
What is a Team Approach?
A team approach allows people to do what they love to do, when they can, in a coordinated way, with a built-in support system by meeting practical, emotional, and spiritual concerns of persons with health care needs. It is easier for team members because the care can be shared and coordinated among many persons.
This team approach also makes it easier for a patient to receive care by communicating all activities through one trusted person.
We start teams in a couple of ways.
One, we begin with a person who needs support and build a team around him/her from his/her congregation, co-workers, neighbors or friends. We train “coaches” in various units of our hospital to start teams for patients.
Two, we offer Coaches Training for congregations and organizations so that teams can be started for persons already known, or so that they can reach out to persons who do not have enough support in a community.
A new pilot forms Support Teams with undergraduate social work students at UAB to care for patients and families who are waiting for or recovering from a transplant (or other significant concerns) at The UAB Townhouse. This is part of student’s “service learning” in the community, and reaches out to families who are from out of town and in Birmingham for medical reasons.
Examples of what a Support Team does includes: a friendly visitor, a telephone call of encouragement, a handwritten note of hope, a ride to the doctor, preparing and delivering a nutritious meal that the person loves to eat, picking up medicines from the pharmacy, sharing reading materials or a prayer, and much more. The key is coordinating this care so that it is best for the person receiving it, and most practical to those offering it.
The Support Team Network is a new way of caring by the UAB Pastoral Care department and works with the UAB Medicine as well as community members. It is not limited to UAB patients.
Brief History: The Support Team Network taught persons to develop volunteer teams through 125 trainings located in 37 states between 1994-2006. Over 5,000 persons attended, and an estimated 10,000 teams were created. The program was put on hold in 2006, and is now being restarted by UAB Hospital to create better support for patients when they go home from the hospital.
Support Teams reflect UAB Medicine’s core values:
- Always care – Listen with empathy, be compassionate and support those in need.
- Own it - Be accountable, take action and make it happen.
- Work together - Think win-win, build consensus and play your role on the team.
- Do right - Follow through, work with principles, and do no harm.
- Best Practices of Support Teams – Learn about the flexibility of Support Teams
- Support Team Orientation – Preparation to be on a Support Team.
- Support Team Development Guidebook – How to develop Support Teams.
- Support Team Videos – Training resources for Support Team development.
Disclaimer: UAB Medicine provides training and materials for the community to organize volunteer Support Teams. This Support Team model is one of many ways a community can work together to care for one another. Each team is responsible for its own actions and relationships.