Faith Community Nursing Unites Against COVID-19

Henry Ford Health System Faith Community Nursing
Janet McElrath conducting a video conference with Henry Ford FCN.

In Detroit, Henry Ford Health System Faith Community Nursing and Health Ministries Network partners with religious congregations to develop the whole person — body, mind and spirit — and improve the well-being of its communities. In the midst of COVID-19 social isolation, the network has created virtual connections to share lifesaving information, resources and spiritual support in real time.

More than 40 volunteer nurses and health ministers serve as a virtual front line to reach thousands of congregation members using Skype and other video calling technologies. They offer information on everything from social distancing and local blood drives to mask-making and coping skills. And the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.

"With all the craziness going on with COVID-19, today if only for a few minutes, I was able to make a world of difference in at least two lives," said LaTonya Davenport, a Faith Community Nursing (FCN) volunteer nurse. One couple, who had spent their lives together for more than 60 years, are now separated due to coronavirus restrictions at a nursing facility. "He’s 95, and during our assessment, he told me he missed his wife so much, his heart hurt," said LaTonya.

LaTonya used FaceTime to reunite the couple. She said, "Immediately, both their faces lit up! You could feel the love, and there was not a dry eye in the room."

According to Janet McElrath, R.N., Henry Ford’s FCN coordinator, "People are desperate for information and connection. The FCNs are trusted sources and connectors, living their calling."