ABCD Exchange : March - April 2001 : Caregiving - Volunteer Teams in AL

Upfront - 2nd National Congress
President's Letter - Stretching Limits
QuickScan - News In Brief
Meet the Board - Introducing Members
Lunch Bunch - First Meeting of 2001
Gatherings - Searching for Spirituality
Innovations - MD Training in EOL Care

Volunteer Care Teams Work Together to Share the Care
by Malcolm Marler, D.M.

Care Teams are making a difference for individuals and families at the end of life in Birmingham, AL, and now throughout the country. The Care Team Network at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's (UAB) medical center teaches communities nationwide how to develop and sustain Care Teams through a one-day Care Team Leadership Training Conference (LTC). A Care Team is a group of volunteers working together to offer practical, emotional, and spiritual support to individuals and families with health care concerns or other special needs. Quarterly meetings are hosted in Birmingham; when invited, the program travels to other communities. In March, the team will visit Huntsville, AL, Washington, DC, and Glastonbury, CT, to lead training sessions that introduce participants to tools that equip them to start and maintain Care Teams where they worship, work, or live.

The Balm of Gilead Center at Cooper Green Hospital's palliative care unit uses Community Care Teams on its ten-bed unit for each room as well as in people's homes.

Carol Padgett, Ph.D., Coordinator of Community Education and CareSharing at The Balm, recently wrote about an interview she had with a woman who benefited from a Care Team.

Moved by the power and specificity of the spiritual support Mrs. M. was deriving from persons of a vastly different (faith) tradition, I asked, "Many of our Care Teams come from churches. Do you have any idea whether your Team shares your faith background?" Mrs. M's answer was swift and emphatic :"Don't know, haven't asked, doesn't matter!"

The Care Team Network is a community program that works because people work together to share the care! For more information, visit their web site at or e-mail the staff at [email protected] Rev. Marler directs The Care Team Network.

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This content is provided by Americans for Better Care of the Dying. For more information, visit