Sustaining a Bikur Cholim Group...
Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) reminds us that we must strive to achieve a balance of perspective between the work which needs yet to be done and what we can realistically accomplish.
Bikur cholim groups are periodically confronted by complex and challenging situations. Consultation, training, and referral resources provide an invaluable source of support. The coordinator can turn to family service agencies, clinics, hospitals, and private practitioners for these services. Some bikur cholim groups find it useful to establish a professional advisory committee.
Form a Community of Support
As Jews, we have a long tradition of deriving support and sustenance from the community. Bikur cholim volunteers are entitled to feel the security of a "safety net."
Combating Stress through Community
Every member of your group, from the latest recruit to the strongest veteran caretaker, is in need of some form of handholding and reassurance and will therefore benefit from an organized system of support. Regularly scheduled group meetings offer opportunities for volunteers to share frustrations, enjoy successes, and offer each other advice and encouragement.
New Perspectives through Training
At educational meetings, members can benefit from a talk by an expert guest speaker, a doctor or nurse, about a specific medical protocol. A psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker might give you insights into mental health issues or practical advice on how to relate to certain patients and situations. Social workers might talk about resources in the community that could be helpful to the patient. Rabbis or Jewish educators can provide spiritual guidance and useful materials, such as prayers, teachings, and concepts. Recovered patients or members of other bikur cholim groups might also have interesting and pertinent information to give.
What is involved in sustaining and supporting the volunteers? Volunteers must be given the opportunity to meet periodically, encouraged to relate their experiences, and evaluate them and be given the chance to share ideas and suggestions for overcoming any difficulties encountered in the course of their visitations.
Bikur cholim visitors need to feel:
Being part of a well-run group helps provide the support needed to do the work.
Meetings boost morale and provide an opportunity to express appreciation for the efforts of the volunteers and coordinator, ensuring participants that their work and experience are valued.
Steps in Motivating
Alternatives to Firing a Volunteer
Events and Activities