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A Handbook for Nursing Home (LTC) Ministry - 5th Edition

About This Handbook - Section 3

The Purpose of This Handbook


In the broadest terms, the goal of the long-term care ministry of Christian Concourse is to encourage and assist the interdenominational Christian community to work together to meet all the volunteer needs of every care facility in their geographic area. This handbook has been assembled to aid us in that purpose. Here, you will find tools to advance you and your church group in ministry to residents of care facilities. These tools include general information about care facility ministry, scriptures related to this mission field, forms, programs, suggestions and detailed instructions for many nursing home activities. As the simple product of our experience and what we have gleaned from others, we do not consider this work exhaustive nor authoritative beyond the value it may prove to be to you and your fellowship. In other words, this is not all there is to it, nor are our suggestions and ideas here the only way to do it.


With this manual, we are not trying to rigidly impose on anyone our way of going about the task of ministering in nursing homes. Stated simply, in the use of these tools, we hope and pray the quality of your service in this ministry will be enhanced and expanded, and that your service will be kept from becoming stale and dull to you and the residents. If, even in a small way, you feel this to be the case, we will consider that a great blessing.


We encourage you to adapt these ideas and suggestions to your own way of doing things. Proceed prayerfully and sincerely, absolutely. And, have fun! If you do not find delight in your efforts, how can you expect the residents to? So, be creative . . . and enjoy yourself! We hope it is obvious to all that we are doing just that!


The Scope of This Handbook


Geographic Area


The material used in this handbook draws from years of experience of many care facility ministers and staff working within the United States and Canada. But, through our website, we are finding that almost all of the features in this manual are helpful in any country that uses facilities for long-term care. We have supplied earlier editions all over the United States, of course, and to England, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Italy, and Canada.


The Interdenominational Christian Community


Whether you live in a large city or a small town, we believe Christian unity to be the only practical way the Church can satisfy the volunteer needs of all the residents in our local facilities. It is our conviction that it would please God greatly were all Christians willing to cooperate in their ministry efforts to the care center population. In spite of any personal convictions and doctrinal understandings that differ among Christians, the love of Jesus Christ will bind us together in our purpose to serve His saints, our elders, in the care facilities nearby. In the name of Jesus Christ, we encourage all Christian volunteers to work together for that purpose, in that spirit. And, with this thought in mind, we include here a poem that frames a picture of what can happen if we refuse to cooperate with each other for the cause of Christ.


The Cold Within

A Poem On Accord In The Body Of Christ


Six humans trapped by happenstance, in bleak and bitter cold;

Each one possessed a stick of wood, or so the story's told.


Their dying fire in need of logs, the first man held his back,

For of the faces round the fire, he noticed one was black.


The next man looking cross the way, saw no one of his church,

And couldn't bring himself to give the fire his stick of birch.


The third one sat in tattered clothes, he gave his coat a hitch;

Why should his log be put to use to warm the idle rich?


The rich man just sat back and thought of the wealth he had in store,

And how to keep what he had earned from the lazy, shiftless poor.


The black man's face bespoke revenge as the fire passed from his sight.

For all he saw in his stick of wood was a chance to spite the white.


The last man of this forlorn group did naught except for gain,

Giving only to those who gave was how he played the game.


Their logs held tight in death's still hand was proof of human sin:

They didn't die from the cold without - they died from the cold within.


by James Patrick Kenny.


Let us say again: If Christians who worship in a given geographic community will work together, interdenominationally and inter-racially, this field of ministry responsibility for the Church will be abundantly satisfied! We hope and pray that you, the reader will join with us to promote this concept.


"Care Facilities" - "Long-Term Care Centers"


As we use the term in this handbook, a "care facility" refers to any institution that provides professional care (on any scale short of a hospice or hospital) to individuals, whether it be a for-profit or non-profit operation, privately run or corporately controlled, large or small, religion-sponsored or secularly managed, long-term care or acute care. (It should be mentioned that the terms, "care center" and "nursing home" and "long-term care facility" are often used interchangeably with "care facility."  The current popular nomenclature among the professionals is "long-term care".) In all cases, we work through a relationship with a staff member of the facility who is preferably a professional activity director. We provide and promote Christian ministry and volunteer service to care facilities without regard to race, religion, creed, or social status. In the ministry of Christian Concourse, we render support and service to the following types of long-term care facilities:


Nursing Homes  A generic term sometimes used to refer to all care facilities. Technically, it is divided into these two levels of care:


Skilled Nursing Facilities

Intermediate Care Facilities


Assisted Living Homes

Retirement Communities

Adult Family Homes

Adult Day-Health Care Centers

Multi-Level Care Complexes


For a description of each type of care facility listed here, refer to the next section of this handbook, "A Profile Of The Care Facility Industry."


Long-Term In-Home Care


In the United States, the elderly who are given care at home constitute the vast majority of those who receive long-term care, and this number is increasing (see Section 4, "Overview"). Though there would obviously be many similarities, this handbook does not specifically address the unique considerations for the needs of these individuals. In most cases, they are cared for by loved ones, and we know they can usually benefit from outside support. Where applicable, in your judgment, in a home-care setting we certainly invite you to use this resource if you are ministering as a caregiver, a friend, or a volunteer. (See "Copyright Information About this Handbook," below.)


The Volunteer Needs of Care Facility Residents


Because nursing, food services, and building maintenance generally require professionally trained and/or licensed specialists, the volunteer needs of care facilities are usually focused on leisure activity programs. However, the long-term care industry is slowly responding to the importance of the emotional, social and spiritual well-being of their residents, and they are utilizing trained activity professionals to assist them in this dimension of care for their residents. It is the responsibility of these activity professionals to know their clients, document their activity capabilities and needs, and provide an adequate, customized answer to those needs for each individual resident. From a practical point of view, it is nearly impossible for the owners of a facility to provide adequate staffing to help the activity professional in such a monumental task. Therefore, volunteerism plays a vital role in meeting the activity needs of care facility residents. This manual attempts to address most of these wholesome volunteer needs identified by activity directors of care facilities. Within the genre of "activities," the list of tasks that could be or need to be done on a volunteer basis in a care facility is really quite long! Such simple things as reading the newspaper or picking up a pair of socks at a local store become very important in a nursing home. For a list of the types of things you can do in care facilities, please refer to Section 11, "Games and Activities" later in this handbook.


Copyright Information About This Handbook


This handbook is copyrighted by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. All rights are reserved as provided by applicable United States and international laws. We have loaned this handbook to you, your church or care facility for the benefit of the residents of care facilities and it remains the property of Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the explicit, written permission of Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.


The sole exception to the above reservation is as follows: for the purpose that it would help you in your service to care facility residents or those receiving "long-term care" at home, we gladly give the local church, care facility or individual to whom this handbook was lent, permission to photocopy or copy into your computer system the descriptions, guidelines, lists, samples and forms herein on the four conditions that


[1] they will not be used in any for-profit activity,


[2] that the provided text will not be altered in any way, that


[3] the copyright statement at the bottom of each page will be legibly included with each copy of each page without exception or alteration, and that


[4] there is no copyright by another individual indicated with a particular article or piece in the text.


In the event that you feel you can improve on our ideas, we encourage you to do so. We would deeply appreciate a copy of your work with your permission to include it, with proper credits, in our next edition.


Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. offers this handbook to you for you to use at your discretion and we take no responsibility for the results of your efforts, though we are deeply grateful for your interest in assisting the staff and residents of care facilities and we hope this handbook will be helpful to you. No part of this manual is to be construed as an endorsement of any given facility, local church or ministry by Christian Concourse. We work as hard as we can to keep the material in this handbook up to date, accurate and helpful, but we acknowledge that it may be flawed and incomplete. No harm or damage due to our mistake or omission is intentional; neither do we take responsibility for the correctness or incorrectness of this information.


How to Use This Handbook


We encourage you to read this handbook "from cover to cover".


Where we provide material for you to copy, please do so within the scope of our permission in the preceding segment, "Copyright Information About This Handbook." In that case, reproduce freely and generously. Where bulletins, forms and lists are included, make the copies, collate, staple, fold and cut them as necessary into your own booklets. Be as creative as you can with colors and paper quality.


Please distribute copies of these materials to volunteers and residents as you deem necessary and/or helpful to enhance your service in this field of ministry.


Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2004 by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc., 1543 Norcova Ave., Norfolk, VA 23502  Ph.: 757-714-3133.  All rights reserved.

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