Gerald Vest: Health Promotion Team for Seniors - Organization Design    
 Health Promotion Team for Seniors - Organization Design4 comments
picture16 Feb 2006 @ 17:57, by Gerald Vest

I am very pleased to share our progress in developing our community program to reach out and touch our lonely and isolated elders here in southern New Mexico. This article describes our volunteer organization and support that we have received from our City of Las Cruces, RSVP Program and the In-home Services Program.

We will launch our training program on Friday, March 17, 2006, Munson Senior Center, 1:30-4:30pm.

We are interested in offering this program on a Global Scale so that other communities can use our experience, resources and healthy touch program to serve elders who are isolated and lonely. For more information, do visit our homepage and forum. [link]

Program Description

This volunteer program is designed to support our lonely and isolated elderly population and caregivers in Southern N.M . The 15-Minute StressOut Program, as designed by Emeritus Professor, Gerald Vest, ACSW/LISW/LMT, and the New Mexico State University, Health Promotion Team, is the primary approach used to introduce safe, skillful and appropriate touch with our elders and caregivers. (See home page for a complete description and historical overview of this program--protocol that includes the skillful use of touch coordinated with the breath, ethical guidelines for the safe use of touch, certification requirements, evaluation instruments, participation comments, selected resources and research.)

Selected volunteers will complete an orientation and training program as part of the process in becoming certified to give and to receive the “StressOut Program.”

Safety Guidelines & Requirements

Ethical Guidelines for the Safe Use of Touch:

1. Provide the option for participants to self-administer the program;
2. Always receive permission to touch and remind participants that contact is always in safe areas;
3. Have a witness or partner present to observe the "stressout";
4. Teach the activity to others so that they can be the giver and receiver;
5. Give participants an opportunity to evaluate the experience: and,
6. Encourage participants to use the teaching video and "Study Guide" if the worker does not choose to make physical contact.

Community Organization


This community organization is sponsored by the City of Las Cruces, RSVP, Senior Programs. [link] Aurora Ybarra, LBSW, RSVP Program Coordinator and Francesca Smith, LBSW, In-home Services Manager, serve as professional advisors. Judith Bartlett and Liz Ambrose are chosen to serve as the initial volunteer Co-Team Leaders for the project. Gerald Vest, ACSW/LISW/LMT, is the volunteer program consultant-trainer.

Job Description:

1)Professional Advisors – oversee the organization and the selection, recruitment and training of volunteers; maintain an organization data base of volunteers; supervise student interns; and, provide for certification and recognition of volunteers.

2)Co-Team Leaders – work closely with the advisors, program consultant and senior resources to support the program; schedule workshops and training programs; help recruit, train and place volunteers; maintain organization records; and conduct the business of the organization.

3)As a team we will all work together to sustain a volunteer organization that can support our elders and caregivers with safe, skillful and loving touch.

Note: The picture identifies our Leadership Team -- Aurora Ybarra, Francesca Smith, Judith Bartlett, Liz Ambrose and Jerry Vest.

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