Having a nurse in active congregational ministry provides a unique forum for health promotion and disease prevention. Members of a faith community, knowing that a Nurse/Volunteer is available on an informal basis, can discuss a health concern with the nurse before it becomes a chronic or serious condition. Most often, parish nurses are connected to a congregation, serving in a variety of ways, promoting health for the whole person. Parish nurses act as health educators, personal health counselors, health advocates, referral agents, coordinators of volunteers and integrators of faith and wellness.
Nurses serving congregations is a relatively old concept being now revisited by many churches across the world. Several factors have pushed parish nursing to the forefront of church ministries and getting more relevance in the present society. Unwanted hospitalizations, longer than desired hospital stays, changing family structure, an aging population, rising health care costs and increasing numbers of chronic illnesses have had an impact on families and communities. In our country, many patients are ill advised for hospitalizations, and medical treatment. Where can a family receive more appropriate and authentic information and help? Through PHM, churches can intervene in this situation and have developed different ministries to help meet the health needs of their members as well as the community around the church.
advantAGE seniors consulting envisioned parish nursing as a partnership between healthcare systems and congregations, linking resources of the healthcare system to the faith community. We recognize the church as being a place that promote health and wholeness for centuries through worship, music, sharing, and caring. In addition, communities of faith are an institution that interacts with individuals from birth through death. So we feel the church is duty bound to initiate PHM in every church across the length and breadth of the country.
No doubt we have a habitual liking towards village work. We believe that real life exists in villages, though many disadvantages galore. We go to villages for two things. First, to identify the prospective caregivers and secondly, to create awareness about rural aging. Undoubtedly, caregivers are the backbone of elder care. Given the hardship and intricacies of full time care giving, very few are willing to take up this job. Lives of many less educated, distressed rural women continue to exist in despair. We tell the gospel that there is hope in the form of a well-paid and well respected job as a caregiver.
We create livelihoods for the deprived and the underprivileged women and there by whole family is benefited. In short, we put back smile in many lives whose life tottered with hopelessness. We are able to script a win-win situation for the rural distressed women and at the same time getting care to the needy person.
Every caregiver who work with us comes from the rural background. They all have a common story of poverty, hardships, anguish, agony and sometime destitution. We hand hold them in their misery and teach them the care giving skills. This is a lifetime skill. Every story we scripted is mega success. Our rural interventions bear fruit when our care givers reclaim their life.
Ashraya Seva Samasthe
We established “ashraya seva samasthe” in Haveri district to create awareness about aging as well as to look after the poor older adults. We are in the process of initiating talks with the government for further expansion to other areas.
Another initiative which is dear to advantAGE is “chinnara angala” which is again to support the single parent. Most of the young single parents are in a catch 22 situation that they are in dilemma as who will look after the children when they go for work. This is where we want to have a hostel for the kids where we provide food accommodation, and education easing the troubles of single parenting and in turn the kids get good education.