Center of Excellence in Faith & Health
Inside the walls of Methodist University Hospital, a connection is being built in a revolutionary center where faith and health combine to help in the healing of patients, families and communities.
Located in the heart of the hospital, the 16,000 square feet Center of Excellence in Faith & Health is a space focused on the heart of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthare’s mission–the unconditional care and concern for our patients and families. The Center provides patients’ families with a comfortable and comforting place to relax, get spiritual care and learn how to take care of their patient once they get them home.
Gary Gunderson, D.Min., M.Div., senior vice president of Health and Welfare Ministries at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare says, “When families are here because of a loved one, they should be cared for and they should be learning how best to care for their loved one when they return home.”
Kelli Owens knows first-hand how much this space is needed. She called Methodist University Hospital’s ICU waiting room home for more than two weeks in 2008 while her husband, Mike, was being treated for an aneurysm and a blood clot.
“During the time Mike was in the hospital, I had to meet with his business partners, complete the paperwork to file for disability, and meet with doctors and representatives from various rehab facilities to discuss the next phase of Mike’s recovery,” said Kelli. “Often, these meeting took place wherever we could find an open spot. The thought and vision put into this new space makes a trying situation more bearable.”
Family Care Center
The Center of Excellence in Faith & Health includes a Family Care Center. This area includes resources to provide for and assist with the various needs of patients’ families. The Family Care Center houses a small chapel for all faiths, an outdoor terrace and a dark room for those who want to sleep. The center also features rooms for patient, family and physician consultations and an education center where families can either get in-person, one-on-one sessions about how to take care of their patient at home or they can research for themselves on computers.
In addition to the Family Care Center, the Kemmons Wilson Family Foundation Innovation Studio is another integral part of the Center of Excellence in Faith & Health. Outfitted with state-of-the-art technology, the Innovation Studio welcomes volunteers from local congregations for trainings to help patient families with spiritual care, end-of-life care, mental health care, first aid and home care in seven-week courses.
“The thought and vision put into this new space is incredible. It seems as though every detail and convenience was considered and planned,” said Kelli. “It will improve the family’s experience, which, in turn, benefits their loved one.”
“This space demonstrates our belief that more can always be done not only to treat people but also to impact the quality of life for those in our community,” said Gunderson. “By healing patients and families, we’re ultimately making a difference in the overall health and wellness of the community,” said Dr. Gunderson.
Making a Difference
Since the first meeting held on February 8th, there have been over 750 meetings in the Center in 2011 alone. These meetings bring together some of the best and brightest to work as one to improve healthcare for our community. Meetings such as the Health & Human Services Conference, the Unity & Hope Youth Conference, the Memphis Theological Seminary Retreat, the Health Disparities & Beloved Community Conference, the Epidemic of Health Conference, and the Hospice National Teleconference are just a few that have come together in our Center of Excellence in Faith and Health to work for a brighter future for us all.