Every now and then someone says to me “I wish we had a local Catholic nursing home.” It’s impossible. The costs of building and running such an enterprise are beyond us. Work out for yourself the cost of building, employing nursing, care and domestic staff – before we could invite anyone into the home. The risks are too great but our elderly, especially, need care.
Home visits, medical and social, are better than hospital or care-home if the people are happy to live at home. Could we help there? The State prefers such services. The Church fits in with friendly and helpful visits from societies such as the SVP and the Legion of Mary, but these are friendly and church, rather than social and need, based.
Last week a fascinating report gave details of small enterprises (five seemed the best number) of dedicated care workers who form their own small company. They know and trust each other and work to cover a small area, meaning little travel time and more care time. Supporting and trusting each other they come to know well the people they visit.
Could we help promote such teams in our parish area? Would you be able to work out a business plan that we could promote in the parish? Organisation is essential, trusting one another, good wages, good contacts with local services.
Is it feasible? The present system does not always satisfy – visits are rushed, are businesslike (understandably) rather than friendly, and can seem impersonal if tight schedules are being adhered to.
Devise a scheme in its ideal, registered with the local authorities, and the people of the parish lending enough to start the work with a loan to be repaid within a reasonably short time.
Dream on, Fr John, dream on. I shall. Every parish, with its small teams of care workers in the local parish areas. It’s working in general society, the report makes clear how well, so why not in the local Catholic Christian community? We can’t hope for a Catholic nursing home but we could establish a Catholic homecare system.
God bless and guide us,
(9th April 2017)