New booklets - to give your care staff
Updated: Jul 21
'I wish we could do something?'
Well, now you can by ordering special guides for hard-pressed care workers.
Hot off the press are these five new titles from BRF in the series 'A Carer's Guide'. The brainchild of the Anna Chaplaincy Lead for Wales, the Revd Sally Rees, each of the five titles speaks directly to care assistants and domiciliary agency staff who are under pressure providing social care during the pandemic.
We hope churches will order them in bulk from BRFonline to give to managers of their local care homes to distribute to their staff and to those who work for social care agencies providing support for people in their own homes.
How do we look after ourselves and others better in the wake of a health crisis such as Covid-19? Well, the Carer’s Guide series offers practical help and guidance to carers who find themselves needing to provide spiritual support to older people or others in residential care. The guides come in packs of five – £10 for a pack of all five titles, or £10 for a pack of five copies of a single title.
These days, Anna Chaplains and pastoral workers can’t provide spiritual care in quite the same way as before because of visiting restrictions. However, lockdown has seen considerable creativity and imagination at work as Anna Chaplains and others across the country have adapted and developed new ways to continue, albeit from a distance, providing spiritual care to older people. Recently almost 100 people joined an Anna Chaplaincy Zoom session to hear about resources for ministry among older people.
This is a positive step churches and pastoral teams can make in these exceptional times, if modest sums can be allocated to buy the booklets and then make a gift of them to local care staff.
I have written a template letter of the sort you might like to send to your church leader, minister or incumbent to ask if this could be done. Also included is an article which might be suitable for publishing in your local church newsletter or magazine, to help publicise this work and tell people about the new guides in a bit more detail. Download it here.
The series of five booklets – ‘A Carer’s Guide: How to…’ – provides information and advice on how to offer spiritual care in a variety of contexts. Each is laid out in easy-to-follow steps that can be read as a whole or dipped into for helpful reference. Each one also provides ready-to-use, road-tested resources, so no one needs to start from scratch when planning, for example, a short church service or a memorial service for those who cannot attend a cremation or burial.
We consulted those with experience of working in care homes to ensure we got the tone and information just right for each title. As a former nurse and nursing lecturer herself, Sally Rees said, 'These are truly extraordinary days and care staff have been stretched to their limits, and beyond.
'During these difficult days, the effects of Covid-19 on care home residents and staff have rarely been out of the news. There have been so many heart-breaking deaths, both of residents and staff, but also hundreds of heart-warming stories of carers "going the extra mile" in looking after those in their care, even when, exhausted and grieving, they’re also coping with the fear of falling ill themselves and carrying the virus home to loved ones.
'Even in those homes that have managed to avoid the virus, care has changed beyond recognition, with severe restrictions on those who can enter the home and the need to wear personal protective equipment.'
'How to take care of yourself in stressful times'
'It’s no accident, therefore, that the first of these new booklets is for carers themselves and their needs. I wrote "How to take care of yourself in stressful times" in response to the special needs of carers at this time,' said Sally.
I (Debbie Thrower) have written ‘How to help someone spiritually towards the end of life’. Sally has also written, ‘How to worship with individuals in your care’ and ‘How to have a memorial service at home when you are unable to attend the funeral’. Birmingham-based network member, Catriona Foster, put together ‘How to worship with a group of residents’.
'When I first thought about writing something for care home staff,' said Sally, 'my idea was that I would just email it to all the carers that I knew locally, but then early on in lockdown we had a meeting of Anna Chaplaincy regional leads on Zoom and the idea just took off! So here we are, just a few weeks later, publishing a set of five booklets for care homes. God’s amazing! I never saw this coming, but it feels wonderful. We all just hope they’ll be a blessing to people, because that’s our only aim.’
We have made these guides as affordable as possible. Each guide costs £2.50, or £10 for a pack of all five titles or £10 for a pack of five of any single title. You can order them now from BRFonline.