For Immediate Release
September 10, 2015
Contact: Valerie Steinmetz
ALAMEDA COUNTY FAITH LEADERS CELEBRATE CAREGIVERS IN A FIRST OF ITS KIND COMMUNITY-FAITH-HEALTH SYSTEM PARTNERSHIP
The Alameda County Care Alliance hosts faith leaders, community members and health organizations for a health expo and celebration of caregivers
August 30, 2015–The Alameda County Care Alliance (ACCA) hosted a Caregiver Recognition Celebration and Health Expo at Glad Tidings Church of God in Christ in Hayward, CA to celebrate the work of caregivers, who selflessly give their time and talents to assist community members with advanced illness. As the baby boom population ages, people are increasingly calling for change in advanced illness care – care that both improves their quality of life and addresses their spiritual needs. The Alameda County Care Alliance is working to operationalize these goals in their Advanced Illness Care Program™, by helping those with advanced illness, families, and caregivers manage their spiritual, social, and health needs. Such a program fosters the community and faith-based component in the continuum of care.
The Advanced Illness Care Program™ is the first community-faith-health system partnership of its kind in the nation initiated by the faith community. “Working closely with our partner the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), we approached Kaiser Permanente to support and partner with us to implement this innovative program. We are delighted to showcase the accomplishments of the ACCA Advanced Illness Care Program™ and honor the caregivers who dedicate their time and efforts to help provide the kind of care people want at this critical time in their lives – care that respects their dignity and honors their choices,” said Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr., Senior Pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church.
The expo brought together a diverse group of over 20 stakeholders from the local, regional and national levels, to help those with advanced illness and their families manage their spiritual, social, and health needs. “Those living with advanced illness and their caregivers need support now. We hope this health expo and the continued partnerships of the exhibitors with the Advanced Illness Care Program™ will help give them the tools and training they so desperately need to successfully navigate the complicated maze of advanced illness care for those they care for, minister to, and love,” said Bishop J.W. Macklin, Pastor of Glad Tidings Church of God in Christ.
“The celebration and expo come at a time when the challenges facing those living with advanced illness has captured national attention,” said Jon Broyles, Executive Director of C-TAC. “But providing comprehensive, person-centered care requires more than just the medical establishment. That’s why this community and faith-based approach is so unique. It gives the often overlooked, but essential, component of the community – caregivers, clergy, and lay people – the support, information and training they need to effectively deliver the kind of care people want and need.”
Building off the community health worker model of community health clinics, the ACCA has developed the community care navigator role from a faith-based perspective within all Hub churches. Community care navigators are not medical professionals, but are trusted, well-respected individuals in their ACCA church. Having undergone extensive training with a curriculum developed by the ACCA and the Allen Temple Leadership Institute, community care navigators work closely with their churches, ministries, and community organizations to align advanced illness care resources and information to the needs of persons needing care and caregivers. The ACCA has also developed a Care Ministry of dedicated volunteer congregants who can work with the ACCA and care navigators to support programmatic needs.
The event brought over 1100 individuals in the community together and featured a packed program, which included:
- Acknowledgement of the ACCA funders – Kaiser Permanente, the California HealthCare Foundation, and The San Francisco Foundation. A special ceremony was held to present a plaque to Kaiser Permanente for their continued support of the program. Melissa Stern, Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s managing director of Life Care Planning, accepted the award on the organization’s behalf.
- Service presided by all 5 Pastors from the Hub churches. The keynote message by Rev. Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Jr. addressed the importance of faith in advanced illness care and this Kairos moment provides the opportunity, point in time and motive to bring the faith, clinical and research fields together to implement and evaluate the Advanced Illness Care Program™.
- Recognition of 98 Care Ministers who completed training to support the Advanced Illness Care Program™.
- Songs from the One Voice Mass Choir. Over 100 individuals from the 5 Hub churches came together to form the Mass Choir, performing throughout the service.
- Blessing and recognition of caregivers for the love and dedication they show toward their loved ones.
A special highlight of the event was the celebratory supper and service to honor caregivers in the Alameda County community. “Caregivers often bear the brunt of responsibility when a loved one is facing advanced illness. Now is the time to honor them for their service and show that the faith community can take the lead in supporting those involved,” said Rev. Cynthia Carter Perrilliat, Executive Director of the Alameda County Care Alliance.
Hub churches and partnerships participating in the event included:
- Kaiser Permanente
- Allen Temple Baptist Church
- Glad Tidings COGIC
- Greater St. John MBC
- Family Bible Fellowship
- Center of Hope Community Church
- Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, UC Davis
- Public Health Institute
- CITRIS, University of California
- Family Caregiver Alliance
- Center for Elders’ Independence
- Coalition to Transform Advanced Care
- Horizon Home Health Care
The Alameda County Care Alliance (ACCA) is a coalition of five churches (Allen Temple Baptist Church, Glad Tidings COGIC, Greater St. John MBC, Family Bible Fellowship, Center of Hope Community Church) representing over 35,000 people in Alameda County. The ACCA has launched the Advanced Illness Care Program™ in order to provide persons needing care and their caregivers with navigation assistance with local resources and information to manage spiritual, social, health, and planning for advanced care needs. With support from Kaiser Permanente, the Advanced Illness Care Program™ has been developed as a partnership of the ACCA with local clinical, academic, and public health institutions. The ACCA is part of a national movement to transform care for those with advanced illness, and is a member of the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC), a national, non-partisan, non-profit coalition of 120+ organizations. ACCA shares the C-TAC vision that all Americans with advanced illness, especially the sickest and most vulnerable, should receive comprehensive, high-quality, person-centered and family-centered care that is consistent with their personal goals and values and honors their dignity. For more information on the ACCA Advanced Illness Care Program™, Hub churches and Partners, sponsorship opportunities, and the Caregiver Recognition Celebration and Health Expo, please visit www.accarealliance.org.