Trish McKinnon and Karen Summey understand that supporting those who are caring for loved ones is just as important as caring for patients.
They are both volunteers of Providence Community Connections, a ministry of Providence Newberg Medical Center, supported by the Faith in Action coalition.
Faith in Action builds partnerships with local faith-based organizations to find volunteers who can help address unmet health needs at the medical center and in the community. It also provides a support group for established care workers in the area.
Karen’s experience as a family caregiver includes taking care of her husband, who has Lewy body dementia, and her daughter, who has paranoid schizophrenia.
Caring for her two family members requires constant attention to their needs, Karen says. The Faith in Action support group helps people like her and Trish reflect on their own needs and connect with others in similar situations.
“Caregivers need to take care of themselves in order to take care of others,” Karen says.
When Trish moved to Sherwood six and a half years ago, she was recruited by Faith in Action to become a volunteer. Her decision to volunteer ended up being one of the more significant decisions of her life.
Trish initially thought the volunteer work would only entail giving a weekly ride to someone who needed it, but it turned out to be like "adding a new member to her family." A Newberg woman named Patricia – who deals with asthma, heart issues and COPD, among other conditions – gets multiple visits a week from Trish and daily check-ins via text.
According to Trish, Patricia's condition has improved over the years. Trish said she likes to believe her caregiving had a role in that improvement – playing the role of a family member for someone who would otherwise be on their own.
“When I met her over four years ago, she was very, very sick,” Trish says. “This is the healthiest she's been, and I try to make sure she's on top of her appointments and getting the care she needs.”
Providence Newberg Medical Center is proud to partner with Faith in Action, and we thank our donors who make this work possible.
Read more about Trish and Karen in this Newberg Graphic article, Caregivers share stories
Learn more about Community Connections
Caregivers need to take care of themselves in order to take care of others.”