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LCM Responsibilities & Procedures

Introduction

Lay Care Ministers (LCM’s) are persons who have received special training in the most appropriate methods and techniques of providing pastoral care to individuals, have been certified as satisfactorily completing the required training, and who have been consecrated by the First United Methodist Church to serve in its care ministry.

Role of Lay Care Ministers

The care situations served by the LCM involve a wide spectrum and include ministering to individuals who are undergoing hospital or outpatient diagnosis or procedures, in the hospital recovering from various medical procedures or sickness, homebound, in nursing homes.

Spouses or other relatives often also need special attention for which the LCM can provide assistance. Members of the ministerial staff who have special training and experience attend to situations involving grief ministry or personal counseling.

Frequency of Visitation

The desired frequency of visitation, either by ministerial care staff or by LCM’s, is as follows:

  • Hospital related situations, e.g. diagnosis, sickness, surgery, or other procedures or reasons:
  • Prior to scheduled diagnosis or medical procedures.
  • Daily visits (or other appropriate contact) while in hospital.
  • Follow-up by telephone after release from hospital.
  • Nursing Homes:
  • Weekly visits.
  • Homebound (non-mobile):
  • Monthly; more frequent visits desirable when appropriate.
  • Minimum of monthly telephone call, particularly where personal visit is not desired or appropriate.

Relationship with Lay Care Visitors

Lay Care Visitors are persons that are assigned to and visit individuals who are either homebound or in a nursing home. Lay Care Visitors are part of the Lay Care Minister Team, however, they have not undergone training as LCM’s and are not involved with hospital visitation. The work of these individuals is a valued ministry and an important complement to, but not a substitute for, the care ministry provided by LCM’s or ministerial care staff.

Hospital Visits: The primary time-sensitive responsibilty of the LCM’s is to be responsible, as agreed in advance, for meeting visitation needs on certain days at local Grove inpatient or outpatient facilities. The assigned LCM will be responsible for visiting the local hospital (IGGH) when there are inpatients registered as Methodists. Also, the LCM’s will be informed of any known care needs for individuals scheduled for outpatient surgery at the local IGGH facility.

For inpatients, the Office Manager on Monday through Friday will determine from the hospital whether there are any Methodists registered. The LCM assigned should call the Office Manager to determine whether there are Methodists registered that day. On weekends, the LCM assigned should call the hospital directly to determine whether there are inpatient Methodists registered. For those assigned to visit on weekends, it also could be helpful to call the Office Manager on Friday to determine whether any are expected to be in the hospital over the weekend. At times, there are inpatient Methodists who are not members or regular attendees of FUMC. A visit with these individuals is desirable, however, special trips only to see non-members or non-attendees is usually not warranted.

For local outpatient surgery or other procedures, the LCM will be informed in advance if coverage is needed, the particular situation, and the time of the scheduled procedure.

LCM’s also may be asked their availability to handle visitation needs on other than their assigned days. This particularly will occur when a LCM becomes unavailable for their scheduled date. An attempt will be made to distribute these requests evenly among the LCM’s.

Occasionally there are visitation needs outside the local area, particularly at one of the Tulsa or Joplin hospitals. The frequency and timing of these are irregular and LCM’s at times will be asked to meet these needs if available.

Homebound Visitation: LCM’s will be assigned individuals who are homebound and are expected to visit them at least monthly. At times more frequent contact, including telephone calls, can be appropriate.

Nursing Homes: Weekly nursing home visitation will be done primarily by ministerial staff. As additional LCM’s are trained, certified, and consecrated, these visitations will be assumed by LCM’s.

Reporting of Visits

Lay Care Ministers are asked to report their visits via e-mail and will be provided information as to whom reports should be sent. For any detail other than the person, the location, and time of the visit, permission of the individuals visited should be obtained for each level of disclosure. These levels are: no disclosure, Sr. Pastor only, care ministers only, ministerial staff, or general congregation. Regarding disclosure, it may be helpful to inform the individual that the pastoral staff prays weekly for the situations for which they are aware.

Generally the visit will be reported to the Director of Care Ministries, the Office Manager, and a person that maintains a computerized record of all care visits.

The Senior Pastor and/or one of the ministerial care staff should be promptly informed of any severe or urgent situations.

Monthly Meetings

Monthly meetings of the LCM team will be scheduled. Each LCM is encouraged to attend to share experiences, review scheduling, discuss any questions that arise, and periodically receive additional training information.