What is a Support Team?

A support team is a group of volunteers (usually six to 10) working together to offer practical, emotional and spiritual support to individuals and families with serious health care concerns and/or other special needs. Examples might be chronic or terminal illnesses, crisis situations or caring for the elderly who have become frail.

Why are support teams needed?

  • People are living longer with fewer resources
  • Improvements in medical technology have increased life expectancies but not necessarily with the quality of life desired.
  • Fewer caregivers are available with families living apart.
  • One-on-one volunteers can get "burned out" or become unable to satisfy growing needs.

What does a support team do?

A support team might provide activities such as transportation to doctor or therapy visits, household or yard chores, errands, meals, social outings, visits, phone calls, or time for caretakers to have a break or respite.

What does a support team NOT do?

  • Provide financial assistance
  • Provide direct medical care

What are the different types of support teams?

  • Individual/family: one team per individual or family.
  • Mission/purpose: one team meets a common need for a variety of individuals (for example, Professional Advocacy Team for Senior Adults)
  • Facility: one team focuses on a place such as a nursing home wing

What are the advantages of a team approach?

No one can do it all, but everyone can do something. Each participant offers that which he or she is most comfortable or skilled in providing. Each team member decides how much time he or she has to give. Business travel and vacations are taken into account. Coordination of efforts maximizes the efforts and skills of the team and avoids duplication of activities; a team leader "puts it all together." The team meets once a month to communicate, educate and coordinate its mission.

To learn how you can be part of a support team, contact Tiffany Wright, minister for care ministries, at (214) 452-3107.