Senior citizens playing chess presents low liability risks

There are more ways than one to share the love of Christ, and sometimes it involves looking beyond ourselves and caring for the needs of the wider community. Humanitarian outreach is at the heart of worship, and planning an outreach ministry doesn’t have to require a hefty budget. It can be as simple as spending time with the elderly at a nursing home.

When you’re a part of an adult care ministry, you support some of the most vulnerable people in society. From looking after terminally ill individuals and people with disabilities to senior citizens, the care you provide is usually specialized and may require more physical and/or mental effort than some other outreach programs.

As rewarding an experience, caring for these populations also means there’s a higher liability risk. In the US, 1 in 4 adults who are 65 or older have falling incidents every year. This is why when you’re putting together an adult care ministry, it’s important to choose only trustworthy and qualified volunteers and staff to eliminate any occurrences of neglect, mishaps, and wrongdoings during the ministry activities.

A caregiver holding an elderly person’s hand

Background Screening Helps Reduce Liability Risks

For social work, it is best to choose people with pleasant temperaments who encompass positive character traits like patience, dependableness, and honesty. Additionally, the screening process can involve running a criminal record search on potential staff and volunteers. In fact, certain states even require you to perform criminal background checks on potential staff for specific types of adult and most child care ministries.

When possible, consider hiring staff and volunteers you already have an existing relationship with.  By selecting people you have known for a year or more, can help reduce the possibility of elder abuse.  Background screening should include obtaining reference checks in additional to the criminal background investigation. Church insurance providers want to be assured, church organizations with an adult care ministry are actively seeking to protect the seniors for which churches are taking care of.

Appropriate Training and Licensing

Many church outreach ministries that care for vulnerable people, like in nursing homes, are required by their state to have certain licensing the same way different types of employees of said facilities are mandated to. Moreover, the people you’re going to select should have the necessary training. This may not always be necessary, especially if your activities as a ministry only involve visits and distributing food, but if you’re more proactively involved, it’s good to be trained in things like first-aid, wheelchair operation, and CPR administration.

Seek Out Help From Your Children Ministry

While children are not able to do the heavy lifting, they can lift the spirits through music and their smiles.  When children show up of all ages, they bring new life and energy our senior saints love to be around.  Not only will the kids put a smile on these adults faces, it will also be an opportunity to bless each of the kids.  With proper supervision, liability risks associated with the kids are minimal.  While the reward for all people involved is priceless.

One year a youth group I lead, went to one of our senior sants house who was bedridden.  We rented a large dumpster and the kids and staff help clean up the outside of his house.  The backyard had become overgrown with tall grass, weeds, and trees that needed trimming, and within a few hours the kids had provided this individual a view of his backyard once again.  This brought him tremendous joy and the kids and staff, also felt good about themselves for being able to help.

Address Additional Liability Risks

If you plan on using your own church property or vehicles owned by your own staff to carry out adult care ministry activities, you must minimize your guests’ exposure to harmful factors. This could involve anything from taking care of maintenance at church to ensuring that the vehicles to be used are safe. In the event that a guest does end up becoming ill or hurt as a result of negligence on your staff’s part, the court is going to hold your ministry liable.

During a ministry outreach program, if an incident occurs that requires your ministry to provide church insurance coverage for the damage, ministry insurance can save you from having to pay more than what you might be capable of. Integrity Now Insurance is the #1 church insurance agency helping churches throughout the US, and we’ll link you to various church property insurance services in California, Ohio, Arizona, and many more states.  As your church insurance brokers, we are here to help you with your church liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, directors and officers insurance, abuse coverage, religious beliefs coverage, and more. Connect with us today.


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