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A Whole Lot of Caring Going on ...

     HMN Spanning the Salish Sea

  San Juan Islands Ministry
Sally, a Faith Community Nurse on one of the islands, was asked to help prepare a safe and welcoming environment for a mother-in-law who was moving in. She helped to arrange furniture safely and discussed wheel chair access needs. In addition, she affirmed the caregivers as they adjusted to their new role.

Education, Advocacy, Support

Health Care System Navigation

Grief Support

Hospital Visits


Education, Advocacy & Support

  Sewing for Whatcom's Mothers
Beverly, FCN, makes thermal blankets and clothes with a group that calls themselves "The Sew and Sews." This team, from Northside Community Church, donates their sewed goods to several local organizations, such as the Lighthouse Mission and the Agape Center, a ministry for women. With needles, thread and fabric, Beverly helps to keep Whatcom's needy women and children cozy in the cold.
  Facilitating an Eye Operation in Seattle
Maureen, FCN, offered education, advocacy and support to a parishioner having surgery on both eyes down in Seattle. Her parishioner was extremely anxious because of a language barrier and having to see a new doctor more than 90 miles away from home. Maureen got the family involved and arranged transportation, and then attend the preop appointment as her translator. Additionally, she negotiated to receive a substantial reduction off their hotel bill. Maureen also explained the process of multiple appointments and pre/post op eye drops which were critical to the success of the surgery
  Comfort Can be as Simple as a Prayer Shawl
  Sheila, FCN, tells us that their Bellingham prayer shawl ministry has given over 950 shawls in the past five years. "We recently gave one to the grandmother (Wilma Baisden, who wanted to be named due to the nature of the tragedy) of the young woman who was killed by a drunk driver on Mt. Baker Highway. Tragically, Wilma's own mother was also killed by a drunk driver years ago. Wilma wears her shawl daily."
  Helping Where Others Can't
  Pam, FCN, played a key role in providing services to a person that State workers had been unable to help due to mis-trust. It took time to build trust because of this person's mental health issues. Eventually, much was accomplished. She was assisted to get housing, apply for and receive Medicaid, and obtain a caregiver. She even received help from her congregation and Love INK on moving day.
  A Sociable Companion Can Make All the Difference
  Barbara is a Health Minister who volunteers weekly to enable a middle-aged woman with disabilities to meet with her elderly mother for lunch and social activities. Barbara assists with the wheel chair, trips to the restroom and planning new places to go. Together, these three ladies go on walks, shop at the mall, enjoy manicures and hair care, visit the library, and discover activities at the Senior Center.
  You, Too, Can be Fit at Any Age!
  Bob, a Health Minister in his 80's, received much satisfaction this year by persuading eight overweight people to join an on-going exercise program. A personal trainer volunteers his time to keep everyone on track to a more healthy lifestyle.
   Need help keeping fit? Send us an email and we'll put in touch with Bob.
  Helping with Lifecycle Transitions
  Dotty, an FCN, supported an elderly widower who resisted leaving his home to live in Senior Housing. He was weak from chemotherapy and needed to make a permanent transition to a place where he wouldn't worry about the upkeep of a house. He agreed to "try it". A comprehensive plan was made working with his sons, the FCN, and a nutritionist from Northwest Area Council on Aging. A granddaughter took his dog, friends brought his special reader (he has macular degeneration) so he could resume managing many of his affairs, and he began taking WTA to the Senior Center and church. The family was delighted and relieved. Today he enjoys wholistic health: mental, physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual.
  Joy in Living Can Come from Sharing the Past
  Health Minister, Alberta, who is in her eighties, connected well with another octogenarian through their common German roots and living during the Depression. Having "devotions" with this woman and spending time just to talk about days gone by brought "so much fun" into this congregant's life.

Navigating the Health Care System

  Sometimes a Navigator is Required
  Norma, a Faith Community Nurse in a boarder town, knew what to do when a Canadian congregant, living in Washington, fainted in church in the USA. Norma's assessment of her physical condition was dehydration. Since the patient had no US medical insurance, Norma drove her to a clinic in Langley, BC, for further evaluation, but he parishioner was not admitted in Canada. Later that day, as she became more ill, she went to the E.R. in Bellingham. Financial concerns for this bill were huge. Norma referred her to the Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Access (WAHA), where help was available to assist with medical bills in such complex situations.
  When You Are Alone and Anxious Because You Don't Know What to Do
  Dennis, FCN, became a surrogate for an absent family by assisting a congregational member to understand the need and value of hospice. This gentleman had a recent diagnosis of cancer with unmanaged pain. His doctor recommended hospice, but he needed time to think and discuss it with his trusted Faith Community Nurse. Dennis spent special time listening and explaining how Hospice might meet his needs. A successful referral to hospice was made and this widower was able to stay in his retirement residence and will not have to move again. His mood and level of functioning improved substantially, and his pain was controlled.
  When Small Accidents Get Out of Hand
  A former public health nurse and experienced FCN referred a congregant to Interfaith Clinic following a needle-stick accident she had while volunteering to clean someone's bathroom. She had no insurance and it had been several years since her last complete physical. Thankfully, the lab results were negative for blood-borne pathogens such as HIV.
   The nurse at the clinic was able to convince her to come back for a physical. Early uterine cancer was detected and she was assisted to get on the "Bridge" program through Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare Access. This opened the door for her to get most of her doctor and surgical expenses paid. The FCN went with her to her first oncology appointment. The surgery was completely successful. She is now feeling more responsible for her health and has kept all her post-op appointments.

Grief Support

  After Hospice
  During coffee hour at church, FCN Holly spotted the daughter of a client from work who had died while Holly was on vacation. The daughter was eager to describe his last days including the design of the new Hospice House which allowed the family to wheel her dad in his bed to the outdoors when they could enjoy the sun, flowers and trees together. She commented on the kindness and attention of the staff especially during the immediate hours following his death. Regarding this conversation, Holly said: "I think sharing it with me renewed her sense of peace leading to a calm acceptance of her father's death".
  FCNs Moderate Grief Share Groups
  Two Faith Community Nurses from Lynden and Bellingham have led several GriefShare groups, thirteen-week sessions offering grief recovery and support. This is a DVD/discussion curriculum from Church Initiatives. Another popular program is offered in November/December called, "Surviving the Holidays". It is a one-session event.   Find a Grief Share group near you.

Hospital Visits

  Feeling Abandoned
  While the attorneys were still arguing over the outcome of the divorce, Faith Community Nurse Gwenn felt compelled to visit the wife in hospital knowing she would have no support from her husband. It made her friend feel special and loved. "We had a great visit, we laughed and prayed together, and she has since told me how grateful she was that I came to see her ... she told me she was surprised that people really cared about how she is doing."
  On Waking in the Hospital
  On Facebook FCN Jessica found that a parishioner's brother, who lived back East, had posted that his sister was having an emergency appendectomy. "I was blessed to be with her when she woke up. Even though she didn't have available family nearby, she felt surrounded by the love of her church! I called her the day after she was released from the hospital to make sure that she was doing well and had everything she needed. She was overwhelmed by the support of the church".
When you need a faith community nurse?

Go to the Register
of Nurses &
Health Ministers

Become an FCN:
FCN/HM Basic Course

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