Enriching the Spirit

Today, more than ever, Premier Health has been equipped with the latest tools, technology, and facilities to provide outstanding care for its patients. It could be said, however, that one of the health system’s greatest resources is rooted in a commitment to meet the health needs of people outside the walls of its hospitals, outpatient facilities and physician offices.

Since 1994, Good Samaritan Hospital (closed in 2018) Health Ministries program (through Premier Health starting July 23, 2018) has served as a significant source of resources, support and encourage-ment for local faith communities as they work to promote the overall health of their members.

“Health ministry programs are important because they promote the physical, emotional and spiritual health and well-being of congregational members on multiple levels,” said Craig Schneider, Good Samaritan Hospital’s spiritual care division manager. “These programs encourage people to take regular, positive actions in the midst of their daily lives that can help improve their overall health and well-being. The program also provides support and resources for members of faith communities who may have recently been hospitalized or are dealing with a debilitating health problem.”

Good Samaritan Hospital’s Health Ministries program is actively serving churches and synagogues in 11 counties throughout the region as a trusted partner and resource for faith community nurses and health ministers.

“Good Samaritan Hospital’s Health Ministries program exists to help faith communities look at their needs and strategize about what they want to do to enhance the health of their members,” said Sister Carol Bauer, Good Samaritan Hospital’s vice president of mission effectiveness.

“That may be educational in the form of newsletters or bulletin inserts, equipment such as blood pressure monitors, or utilizing grants to get them automated external defibrillators.” 

One distinctive aspect of health ministries is that the success of these efforts depends upon volunteers.

“We want to empower members of faith communities to serve their own members and provide them with the resources they need to do that well,” said Sharon Becker, Good Samaritan Hospital’s Health Ministries program coordinator.

“We give special attention to meeting the needs of the volunteers. For example, each year we provide three or four continuing education events as well as quarterly support meetings for faith community nurses and health ministers.”

The commitment to serve and educate health ministries volunteers has been vital to the program’s success, as it enables the volunteers to be effective and helpful as they work to enhance the health and well-being of members of their congregations.

“We’ve always been about a ‘whole person’ approach to care,” Becker said. “No one ever comes into a faith community and leaves their health issues at the door. We are, in many respects, broken people, reaching out to help one another.”