The Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), through its Older Adults Work Group, approved a $12,500 grant to Orlando Health to establish a spiritual care program for use in faith communities in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville to help members with chronic disease.
As a result of the grant, Orlando Health will develop materials to better equip faith community staff and volunteers who are interested in meeting the unique, spiritual needs of congregation members who are dealing with the challenges of chronic disease.
“Once diagnosed, people are taught how to access medical information to better manage their symptoms, but the spiritual distress associated with their disease can go overlooked,” said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director for Older Adults.
“Since chronic disease is long term in nature, people can experience challenges in coping, feelings of hopelessness, a crisis in faith, and a loss of self as they come to be defined by their illness.”
The program will include two phases. During the first phase, an overview presentation will be made to leaders of at least 20 local faith communities interested in learning more about the spiritual challenges their members face upon being diagnosed with a chronic disease.
During the second phase, six in-depth training sessions will be provided for faith communities interested in learning how staff and volunteers can help members who are experiencing spiritual distress due to chronic disease. The second phase also will include the development of a website faith communities can access for links to additional information and supportive resources.
“This represents an incredible opportunity for us to leverage the work we are already supporting in our local faith communities,” said Ms. Silvey. “With the addition of the spiritual care component, we are better able to look at the health of the whole person while also working with a new healthcare partner.”
The one-year grant begins June 1, 2011.