Faith Community Nursing is a part of a broader outreach – health ministry. A health ministry focuses on the health and healing needs of the members of a particular faith community and its extended community. In faith communities people find continuing connectedness, encouragement, hope and love. Health ministries continue this tradition by centering on personal presence, listening and teaching. Examples of
health ministries include: visiting the homebound or sick;encouraging healthy lifestyles; providing support – individually or in groups; presenting information on health promotion and disease prevention; monitoring individual concerns/needs; connecting through written or telephone communications; etc. Health ministry is any extension of the faith community that is perceived as caring. It does not require a medical background. Any person can be involved in health ministry. It merely requires a heart for caring, time and training directed toward improved listening skills, therapeutic communications and spiritual presence. Health ministry and parish nursing frequently coexist and sometimes the parish nurse is the staff person responsible for the health ministry outreach.
Promoting Healthy Lifestyles
Health ministry also involves encouraging others to take responsibility for their own health. Many health problems that people face today are “diseases of lifestyle,” directly related to unhealthy eating habits, obesity, inactivity, smoking, and the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and some lung diseases are examples. To reduce risk factors, people need education and support to follow a healthy diet, exercise, lose weight, and stop smoking. A person’s faith and relationship with God and others will help in making these lifestyle changes.
Examples of Health Ministry:
· Send cards and church bulletins
· Make phone calls of concern
· Assist those who just came home from the hospital
· Visit homebound
· Telephone check in for those who live alone
· Provide a ride to church, doctor’s appointment, grocery shopping
· Prayer Shawl Ministry
· Bulletin articles on health topics
· Support groups: grieving, single parents, divorce, weight loss, new moms
· Prayer Chain
· Exercise Groups
· Teaching Wellness Education
· Delivering Meals on Wheels
· Organize Blood Drives for congregations.