Redefining Health Care and the Church

We all know that Health Care in North America is the topic of many conversations. Here in Canada there are cracks appearing in the overburdened system. I read an article yesterday, (see Waterloo Region RECORD for Thursday November 13 pg.A3) about the College of Physicians and Surgeons recommending the government to develop a Home-Care strategy for seniors and better health care for young people. They go on to acknowledge the benefits of people receiving health care in their homes as maintaining health and ‘well-being’.
I was a Home Care Nurse for 10 years and I understand the health benefits of keeping spouses in their homes together during their later years. In their home environment they continue to be in community with family, faith and friends. In my experience as a Home Care Nurse and as a Parish Nurse, loneliness and loss of hope ranked high on the needs assessment scale. By allowing people to remain in their home environment we remove further steps to alienation.
With that said, the fact remains that there aren’t enough nurses and workers to support this system. The present structure fails us and that leaves boomer families scrambling to juggle schedules and care giving needs for not only themselves but their parents and their children. Not being able to look after their ailing parents themselves means having to take an insurmountable amount of time weaving through their options. This is mind boggling for most.
The question rolling around in my mind is: What is the Church’s Role in all of this?
Church is a community of like minded people with a common belief system who spend most of life together from birth to death. How do they respond to the members needs in this overtaxed health care system. Many churches have developed ‘Care Ministries’ or other intentional ways of caring for their members and I commend them for this and say keep on, keep on! But is there not more that the church can do? I am not suggesting we set out to replace the Health Care System, but how can we walk along side and do our part?
Recently I heard of four elderly woman who wanted to stay in their homes but just couldn’t for various reasons. They decided to all take up lodging in one of their homes and live together. Then, if one of them needed occasional help with something they could help each other. This is very ingenious! They embraced their need for change and were proactive in their future outcome. Yes it meant sacrificing some independence but that was bound to happen sooner or later.
I am sure there are many ideas out there if we just contemplate long enough. Church communities are extended family and we need to start thinking like family.
What are your thoughts and ideas? I want to hear them!
Let’s start brain storming together.

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About nanandfam

Judy is a retired Registered Nurse of 40 years and a Parish Nurse for 10 years. With a heart for helping people to truly be the Hands and Feet of Jesus, Judy has helped restructure and guide congregations to give meaningful care to their members. Judy is involved in teaching and mentoring Parish Nurses. For a detailed CV please contact via email
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3 Responses to Redefining Health Care and the Church

  1. Fran Hudson says:

    Judy, I wish you all the best with this wonderful idea! I will pass the address on to our students in Foundatins in Parish Nursing. Fran H.

  2. Ardys Brenneman says:

    I agree we need to think creatively about how we CARE for each other.

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