Our Congregational Nurse (Donna Rutherford, RN) provides a healing ministry that helps support and fulfill the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our congregation. She is a volunteer on staff, our nurse minister.
Fewer than half of Americans older than 65 have a living will, (Advanced Directive), the document that spells out your health care wishes if you are unable to speak for yourself. This is a startling statistic that can have severe consequences. Without an end of life discussion a patient is 3 times more likely to spend their final days in ICU, be on a ventilator and have invasive treatment. Without this document your loved ones will have to “guess” your healthcare decisions.
Here are a few suggested topics from longtime Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman about end of life medical questions. She founded www.conversationproject.org after caring for her mother.
- Do you want to live as long as possible no matter what, or is quality of life more important than quantity?
- Would you accept nursing home care or is independent living a priority for you?
- Do you want to know just the basics of your health condition or as much as you can?
- Do you want your doctor to do what they think is best or do you want to have a say in every decision?
- Are there any disagreements or family tensions that you are concerned about?
- Are there circumstances you would consider worse than death, such as not being able to recognize your family or breathe on your own?
The above questions are good “starter” conversations for family’s to have. Stop by the Health Ministry bulletin board and pick up a copy of “5 Wishes” to learn how to continue the conversation with family. Starting the conversation is often the hardest part of this discussion. We all know what we want when we can no longer make decisions. It is essential for you and your family to have the conversation and get your advanced directives signed. We have all the tools to help you get started here at the church.
Love and Blessings,
When I rise up
let me rise up joyful
like a bird.
When I fall
let me fall without regret
like a leaf
Services and Duties of the Congregational Nurse
- a health and wellness educator
- a health and wellness counselor
- a community liaison and personal advocate
- a member of the Pastoral Care Team
All conversations and records are strictly confidential. All records are secure. No one else has access to the records of the congregational nurse.
Her duties include:
- Meeting individually with clients in the home, church, or hospital to provide holistic care and support.
- Advocating for clients in the health system.
- Promoting health education.
- Providing health screening and monitoring, as with our First Sunday Blood Pressure Screenings.
- Assessing the needs of the congregation and establishing programs to meet these needs.
- Assisting in locating resources for the community.
The Congregational Nurse does not give direct hands-on treatment but helps to empower and enable clients in their healing journey.
Contact Nurse Donna Rutherford