Support Teams are a practical plan to provide community support for people with long term challenges. A Support Team is a group of volunteers who use a coordinated team approach to meet practical, emotional, and spiritual concerns of a person with long term health care needs in order to make the person’s recovery easier and less lonely. Teams are also helpful for families with special needs children or those fostering or adopting children who have been traumatized.
Renewal Resources Therapists and Interns are trained to teach volunteer teams how to work together to meet the practical, emotional, and spiritual concerns of persons with health care needs. The staff person can assist the recipient and care-giver(s) with organizing and coordinating their friends and family thereby facilitating a smooth set up and sustainable plan.
A team approach makes it easier for a recipient and caregivers to receive support because all activities are communicated through regular, informal conversations with just one or two trusted persons.
Second, a team approach makes it easier for persons on the team to do what they love to do, when they can, in a coordinated way, with a built-in support system.
Using their particular gifts in caring for one person, the team also cares for that person’s family and/or care-givers. The volunteers who comprise a support team work together to offer intentional, predictable, practical support.
What does a Support Team do?
Examples of what a Support Team can do include: a friendly visitor, a telephone call of encouragement, a handwritten note of hope, a ride to the doctor, yard work or gardening, 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 for those offering it.
We start teams in a couple of ways.
One, we begin with a person who needs and wants support, and then build a team around him/her from a congregation, co-workers, neighbors, friends, or a combination of these relationships.
Two, we train Support Team “Coaches” in congregations so they can start teams for anyone they already know, or so they can reach out to persons who they do not know or who do not have enough support in their community. Hospitals, medical personnel, schools, and congregations often meet people who need organized support that can be sustained.
While random acts of kindness are bright moments in long dreary days, support teams are sustainable support for long term living into joy.
In the San Francisco Bay area of California, Renewal Resources offers training and orientation to individuals, medical personnel, congregations, and organizations so that they can start teams for persons they know.
This practical plan was developed successfully by the University of Alabama Hospital and Rev. Malcolm Marler.
Renewal Resources is a nonprofit, public benefit organization serving our community through therapy, classes, groups, support teams and retreats. We offer care and compassion, strategies and support to nurture your inner resources toward bringing light into the darkness with hope, meaning and healing.