Caring for the Caregiver: Underpinning the ministry

Editor’s Note: This is the third article concerning, “Caring for the Care Giver.” The first two articles discussed the need for the ministry, the recruiting and organizing of the supporters, and the initial meeting with all interested parties. 

In this article the “paperwork” that underpins the ministry and gives the supporters and the church some protection will be discussed. Also, it will address the record keeping that will allow the ministry to be more effective. 

It is suggested that three-ring binders be used to contain the information and be used for presentations and meetings. Each team will have one three-ring binder. The person or family that is being ministered to is to have a three-ring binder. The church will keep a three-ring binder that contains copies of everything. These binders’ contents are identical. Listed below are suggested inserts for the binder and their use. 

  • A Table of Contents – the material is so varied that the binder should contain a table of contents. 
  • Introduction – A page that describes the ministry and its purpose, preferably written and signed by the pastor of the church. This gives the supporter credibility with a caregiver.  
  • A Release Form – This is signed by the caregiver giving you permission to minister to them. A copy of this should be made and given to the caregiver, a copy kept by the supporter, and a copy kept at the church. 
  • Caregiver’s Information and Needs – This page includes the caregiver’s name, address, church affiliation, who they are caring for, their relationship to the person being cared for, and a place to record the caregiver’s needs. A copy of this should be made and given to the caregiver, a copy kept by the supporter, and a copy kept at the church. 
  • Care For (insert name of cared for) Information and Needs – This is the same information as above but the information on who the caregiver is caring for. A copy of this should be made and given to the caregiver, a copy kept by the supporter, and a copy kept at the church. 
  • Family and Friends – This is to record other family members’ information. This is to be used in case of emergency. A copy of this should be made and given to the caregiver, a copy kept by the supporter, and a copy kept at the church. 
  • Caring for Self (suggested helps) – These are suggestions for the caregiver’s personal care, things they should remember to do for themselves. There will be other things you will come across that will benefit the care giver. They can be inserted here. 
  • Resources of the Church – A list of helps that are available through the church. This may include, but not be limited to lawn and yard care, minor home repairs, running errands, patient sitting, replacing batteries in smoke alarms, and replacing A/C filters. 
  • Care Giving Assistance Apart from the Church – There are many agencies and services available to the public and a list should be provided. Agencies and service organizations will vary from community to community. 
  • Five Wishes – This is best understood by looking it up on the internet. In short it is the first living will that talks about personal, emotional and spiritual needs as well as medical wishes. It is an easy-to-understand document that is accepted in all but six states. However, it is accepted in Arkansas. 
  • A List of the Supporter’s Caregivers – The binder given to the supporter will contain a list of their assigned caregivers with address and phone numbers. 

Warning!! It is suggested that the documents you use be examined by an attorney. The ones currently in use have been reviewed and approved, but certain jurisdictions may have laws or practices that vary. For example, understanding and applying HIPAA can vary from location to location. 

These binders should be given to the supporters along with one for each of their assigned caregivers.  

The next article will contain responses from caregivers and supporters. 

Anytime you have a question or need information or clarification of information do not hesitate to give me a call; Dennis Wilkins, 501-259-8197. 

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