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 How to do Nursing Home Ministry

1.      Get your volunteers together and decide what you want to do at the Nursing Home.

2.      Call the Nursing Home and ask to speak to the Activity Director if they have one, or someone else who could help you with what you want to do.

3.      Ask them if they have a need for someone to come and do a Church Service, visit with the residents, or do an activity with them like singing.

4.      Make arrangements for the time, day, and frequency.

5.      If you go during the day you will want to check in with the Activity Director and let them know you are there. I usually see if there is someone who can announce the service. I get them to do that and ask if the nurses can help if needed (If we are short handed).

6.      I go get the area ready before we start bringing people in.

7.      Play some of the older hymns on a CD or whatever you have at a level they can hear, but not too loud to keep them from talking if they want to. This will allow them to have something to listen to while you go get the other residents.

8.      Walk down the halls and greet the residents. As you do this ask them if they want to come to the activity you are doing. Some will come; some wonít, just like they did when they were younger. Some just wonít come.

9.      If someone is undecided tell them what you are going to be doing and encourage them to come. This is all some of them need to get them to participate. If they still say no go find someone else to ask, donít push the issue.

10.  Make sure you tell them that you will take them down there and back to their room if needed, otherwise some will not go. If they are not dressed, are in the bed, or need to get into their wheelchair and need help, ask a nurse to do this for them.

11.  If the door is closed knock, if you canít understand them open the door slightly so that you canít see in, but you can talk to them. Stick your head in a door slightly if it is open and ask them to come. I go to every door I can and ask them all.

12.  Roll them to the area of the activity if they want you to, and talk to them along the way.

13.  You have to be careful with some of them; they might be very disruptive, so if you want to bring them and see how they do, then try it. Some of them just want a little personal attention and will calm down if you stay with them and hold their hand or console them. Some of the residents, if you canít get them to calm down, you may just have to roll them out in the hallway for the good of the others enjoying and getting something out of the activity. I had to roll a woman out twice one time and even close the door. I hated to do it, but I could not get her to calm down and she was ruining it for everyone. In a case like that if a nurse is available, ask them to help or roll them back to their room if you have enough people.

14.  When you get them there if you have hymnals (it is better to have large print and we have some you may can borrow with CDís if it does not conflict with a time we are having a service), help them turn the pages. If you plan on singing, it is best to stick to the old hymns, Rock of Ages, Amazing Grace, etc., as they will be able to sing even if they canít see well enough to read, and those are the songs they really like. I have a list if you want of good ones to sing. It also helps to play them a little slower so they can keep up.

15.  Most of them really like it if you hold their hand, put your arm around them, or pat them on the shoulder or back (be gentle).

16.  While doing the activity look them in the eyes and smile at them a lot, in other words give them a lot of personal attention. This really makes them happy.

17.  If you can get there early or stay late after the activity, spend some one on one time with them and talk with them. Most of the people are starved for attention and will really brighten up if you pay personal attention to them, before, during, or after the service.

18.  When I finish the service I go around and shake their hand, pat them, or whatever form of personal contact you feel comfortable with. While doing this I thank them for letting us come and sometimes talk or pray with them.

19.  If you come close to a mealtime you might sit with them while they are eating and talk with them. I politely refuse anything offered.

20.  Make sure you leave the place the way you found it. Put furniture, chairs, etc. back where you found them.

21.  Leave and thank anyone on staff you see on the way out who helped you. The best thing is to thank them as they help you.

22.  If you want to contact me I will be glad to go with you if I am able. You can reach me by calling (912) 398-0573.

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