Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when
they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their
reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.
home care is a growing and thriving industry. In this setting,
the need for a chaplain is a natural. The administration, employees
and residents, and Residents' families at a nursing home daily
experience frustrations, grief and pain. Volunteer chaplains will
help meet these needs. A bridge between the local church and the
senior adult care facility can be established through a nursing
home chaplain. The steps for implementing this ministry are as
Schedule a meeting with the administrator of the nursing home.
2. Determine what needs are not presently being met
3. Plan with the administrator the programs which a chaplain could
4. Recruit a chaplain and volunteers for the programs selected.
5. Set a starting time for the ministry to start.
6. Follow up the meeting with a letter outlining what was agreed
7. Implement the ministry.
8. Evaluate every six months.
A variety of ministries may be implemented in the nursing home
setting. The most obvious are visitation and counseling. Several
other ideas are offered here which go beyond these important services.
SERVICES: The chaplain may be responsible for leading a weekly
Protestant service or for recruiting area churches to lead service.
These worship experiences are usually traditional in nature lasting
thirty or forty-five minutes. The worship time should be scheduled
to fit into the facilities calendar of events which will most
likely not be at 11:00 a.m. The chaplain will need to promote
the service encouraging residents and staff to attend.
SERVICES: The nursing home may depend upon the chaplain to
notify the family upon the death of a resident. In this event
the chaplain should offer to assist the family in contacting their
pastor and the funeral home. If the family does not have a pastor,
then the chaplain may be asked to officiate at the funeral service.
The chaplain must be sensitive to the background and needs of
SERVICES: When an emergency arises in the life of a staff
member or resident, the chaplain may be the only one to whom to
turn. Be prepared to meet any crisis with a caring spirit and
an open heart. Persons at the facility must never feel their need
is an inconvenience to the chaplain. Do not offer this service
unless prepared to give the necessary help.
LIBRARY: The chaplain can start an Audio Library collecting
sermons donated from local churches, the Bible on tape, and Christian
books on tape. Local churches may contribute to this ministry.
Residents' families may also wish to donate funds. The chaplain
must keep the library in order. Investment in a few tape players
for loan would also be helpful. A tape library will bring company
and comfort to many lonely lives.
GRANDPARENT PROGRAM: Youthful faces always bring a smile to
the elderly. The chaplain can enlist children or youth groups
from several local churches to adopt a grandparent. The "grandchild"
should visit occasionally and send cards on special occasions.
Encourage the young person to give their "grandparent"
something she/he has made. Target those residents who have no
family or visitors. The chaplain must monitor the program so that
a child who loses interest may be replaced by someone else.
DAYS: The chaplain may be responsible for planning monthly
birthday or holiday parties. Choirs, drama teams and puppet teams
may be enlisted from area churches to provide entertainment. Be
sure all residents who come leave with a gift or prize.
FOR RESIDENTS AND FAMILIES: Those residing in a nursing home
have special needs as do their families. A chaplain may plan classes
to address those needs. Some examples are: Death & Dying;
Letting Go; Changing Roles of Child & Parent; Finances; Self-Esteem.
The chaplain may lead in those areas of his expertise, but should
recruit experts in these fields to lead the sessions. A survey
may be taken of the families to determine the type of classes
to offer. The staff can also assist with ideas. All classes should
be free of charge.
SUPPORT GROUPS: Placing a parent in a nursing home facility
is a difficult time for most children. They are confronted with
feelings of guilt, helplessness, inadequacy and fear. Knowing
others share similar feelings will help these family members deal
with their aging parent. The chaplain should schedule these support
sessions in conjunction with the administration. The session may
be held at the nursing home or a nearby church (within a few blocks).
elderly are often left to the care of strangers. A nursing home
chaplain can build bridges of friendship from resident to staff
to family to community, in a setting of sterile walls and steel
beds, a chaplain can bring an air of hope, care and love. Jesus
said, "What you have done unto the least of these, you have
done unto me."
Fellowship Ministries International Inc. is a faith
nondenominational ministry of presence. ©
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