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FaithHealth in McDowell featured in McDowell News

A recent article in McDowell News shows the power just a few volunteers can have on a person’s health and life. Writer Rebecca Hare Lehman tells about Madge Blivins who “lives alone and doesn’t drive” but needs to get to medical appointments to deal with chronic health issues. But now she no longer have to worry about getting to the doctor’s office thanks to FaithHealthNC.

Karen Crooms, a volunteer with FaithHealthNC, provides Bivins with transportation to doctor’s appointments, an occasional trip to the beauty salon and an encouraging word….

But Madge Blivins isn’t the only person to benefit from the program, the article goes on:

According to FaithHealthNC of McDowell County Connector Mark Lawing, the first group of eight volunteers has met 45 needs since the end of March.

Crooms, who is one of the first eight volunteers trained in McDowell County, said she was looking for something in her life and that volunteering for FaithHealthNC helped provide that something.

“I wanted to try and be a blessing in someone’s life but they have been a blessing to me,” said Croom, who spends about two to four hours a week volunteering with FaithHealthNC.

FaithHealthNC comes to McDowell County

By Philip Long

Imagine being discharged from the hospital and finding yourself wondering, “who’s going to help me figure out the next steps?” That’s where FaithHealthNC steps in. For over a year, McDowell Hospital, along with local pastors and lay leaders, have been laying the groundwork for the introduction of FaithHealthNC to McDowell County. In fact, McDowell County is one of the first counties to offer this program in western North Carolina.

What is FaithHealthNC? In the simplest of terms, it is connecting the caring strengths of congregations with community resources and the health care network. FaithHealthNC brings the faith community in after a patient is discharged from the hospital or other medical facility in order to reduce re-admission rates. In fact, FaithHealthNC care givers can take referrals from other sources as well. FaithHealthNC connects people with a support system designed to keep them from having to return to the hospital by being sure that they take their medicine, make their follow-up appointments, and have someone to call if they can’t.

FaithHealthNC is a practical program that will enable participants (care givers) to minister to their church members and their community. The biggest part of FaithHealthNC is to let patients know they are not alone in this journey. It connects them with competent, compassionate and caring people to help them in the healing process.

So what’s next for FaithHealthNC in McDowell County? People who want to participate are called “congregational care givers”. Care Giver Training will begin Monday night, March 2 and will meet each Monday night during the month of March. All sessions begin at 6:30 pm and end at 8:30 pm each night. The 5-week training session will be held at Grace Community Church in Marion.

FaithHealthNC is completely free to congregations and to those who would like to be trained as a caregiver. No medical background is needed, just a compassionate, caring heart! Are you interested in becoming a Congregational Care Giver? Please contact Pastor Mark Lawing, our new FaithHealthNC Connector for McDowell County at 828-738-4729 or malawing@gmail.com.

Phillip LongPhilip Long is Regional Manager, Volunteers and Pastoral Care for the East Region of Mission Health. He works at McDowell Hospital in Marion and Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine. You can contact him at 828-659-5434, 828-766-1770, or philip.long@msj.org.