Health Ministries

About Health Care Ministries At Our Church



For more information look on the Parish Nurse Bulletin Board.

Tips From The Parish Nurse

Complimentary Therapies

Dealing with Health Maintenance Organizions (HMO's)

To Sleep Or Not To Sleep

Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Prescription Drugs

Living Wills, Health Care Proxies, Durable Power of Attorney. What are they? Who needs them?



Addie Heelan - Parish Nurse









About Health Care Ministries At The Seekonk Congregational Church:

Recognizing many illnesses and premature deaths may be prevented by lifestyle choices and belief systems, (i.e. diet, exercise, substance abuse, violence, and risk-taking behaviors,) affirms that the Parish Nurse Program and Health Care Ministry Committee of this church must integrate current medical and behavioral knowledge with the belief and practices of a faith community to prevent illness and promote wholeness.

We recognize that the United Church of Christ Statement of Health and Welfare (1985) states that "Based on our understanding of Shalom-of God's intent for harmony and wholeness within creation-and on the examples of Jesus Christ’s ministry which expressed God’s intent through acts of love and justice, we must be committed as a church to a mission of Shalom and to a lifestyle compatible with that mission;" and we affirm that good health is a part of God's intention for all people, and involves the whole person – body, mind and spirit.  Healing and health care are valid ways of proclaiming the Gospel and ministering in the name of Jesus Christ.












Dealing with Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO's) can be a real challenge. If you are denied coverage consider exercising the following options:

1) Appeal the decision by phone and in writing. Keep a log of your calls and record to whom you spoke.
2) Request your doctor to appeal as well.
3) Contact a patient advocate such as

The Center for Patient Advocacy
The California - based Health Rights Hotline

4) If your coverage is through your employment ask for assistance from the Human Resource Dept.

If you are still not satisfied connect with the next level.

5) Appeal to the medical direction of your insurance company
6) Call or Write to the state insurance commission (listed in the telephone directory under "government pages")
7) Request an "arbitration" or "external review" of your case if this is offered by your health plan.
8) Call or Write to members of Congress
9) Retain legal councel from an attorney with this type of experience.

*Be persistent, Don't give up, Health Benefits are your right!









To Sleep or Not To Sleep - Chronic sleep disorders affect as many as 20 million (1 out of 10) Americans. The term sleep disorders means more than just an occasional night of insomnia and may lead to serious health problems including hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, heart attack, depression and accidents. In children, sleep deprivation can lead to poor academic achievement.

In order to get a better night's rest try the following:

1. Avoid "caffeine" after 12 noon
2. Avoid "nicotine or alcohol" close to bedtime
3. Avoid "large" meals near bedtime, but don't go to bed hungry either
4. Check with your doctor to try to avoid medications which may induce insomnia.
5. Try a "soothing" bath or shower before bed
6. Sleep in a quiet, restful and "cool" room
7. Avoid daytime "napping"
8. If you exercise, try to do it "earlier" in the day
9. Go to bed at the "same" time daily
10. Practice "meditation" or "relaxation" before bedtime.

* Sleep aids and over-the-counter medications should only be used with doctor approval.















Complementary Therapies

More and more we hear about and read about Complementary Therapies. What are they?
Previously referred to as "alternative medicine" which implies these modalities would be used "instead of" traditional medicine, we now hear the term "complementary" which implies "along side" or complementing one another.
Standard medical practice often includes nutrition, herbalism, aroma therapy, healing touch, Reiki (a form of energy which brings balance to self-healing) relaxation, therapeutic massage, reflexology, acupuncture chiropractic and others in order to restore physical, mental and spiritual well-being.












Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are on the rise. These disorders also include PDD or Pervasive Development Disorders, PDDNOS or PDD not otherwise specified, Asperger's Syndrome and Autistic Like Characteristics. These neuro - biological disorders affect communication, socialization, sensory integration and cognitive skills. Once considered rare these disorders are increasing rapidly. Consider the figures provided from Dr. Marie Bristol-Powers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, at the 1999 Autism Society of America Conference. Today "1 in 1,000 individuals are diagnosed with "classic" autism; 1 in 500 individuals within the Autism Spectrum, including PDD and 1 in 200 individuals within the Autism Spectrum including PDD and Asperger's Syndrome." Eleven years ago in 1988, autism affected 4 children in 10,000. Even though more people are aware of autism, families of children with ASD continue to struggle because this disorder and the behavior it can cause is still so grossly misunderstood.

Recently there has been much in the media regarding the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine's possible connection to some cases of autism, especially in those families who have autoimmune disorders. If you are concerned about the possible vaccination connection or if you want more information about Autism Spectrum Disorders there is information readily available. You can call Community Autism Resources at 508-677-9239 ext. 23, or you can contact your PCP (primary care provider).















A recent study indicated that senior citizens swallow an average of 8 pills per day. Many medications cause side effects which then need to be treated with another medication. As a result there may be an increased risk of anxiety, confusion, depression and falls.

If you fall into this category don't stop or change your medications, but follow these guidelines:
1) Know the names, dosages and reason you take the medication.
2) Carry a "My Medical Profile" card (available on Parish Nurse Bulletin Board).
3) Be aware of any allergies you may have and inform your doctor and pharmacist.
4) Use the same pharmacist to fill all your prescriptions (Most have a computer system and can track drug interactions)
5) If you see more than 1 doctor, dentist, specialist be sure to give each one an accurate Medical history. This may seem tedious, but it is essential.
6) Feel free to contact me and we can do research together if you have any questions.



Living Wills, Health Care Proxies, Durable Power of Attorney. What are they? Who needs them?

Advance directives, the general term used to de3scribe these documents, vary from state to state. Simply speaking, anyone over the age of 18 can appoint someone, an agent, who they know and trust to make healthcare decisions for them in the event they are unable to make or communicate their personal wishes. Such a situation could arise if you were unconscious or sedated. A living will allows you to give written instructions to your agent regarding your choices for life support, chemotherapy, artificial nutrition, hydration and other topics.

These documents can be obtained from attorneys, hospitals or downloaded. In MA,, for other states,, by phone, information can be obtained by calling 1-800-989-9455.

If you wish to further discuss these documents or different healthcare options please feel free to call me at home (508-761-7029) to schedule an appointment.

To good health,
Addie Heelan, Parish Nurse