FirstPres Anderson

First Pres proudly hosts Rhodes Respite Care, a faith-based activity program for adults with early-to moderate memory impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. Our ongoing mission is to meet the social, spiritual, physical and emotional needs of adults with dementia. This ministry provides a well-deserved break, or respite, to those who bear care-giving responsibility. They entrust their family member to our experts’ care, knowing they will be safe in a loving atmosphere.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Policies & procedures

Rhodes Respite is designed to meet the social and emotional needs of adults with dementia and their caregivers.  It provides activities and socialization opportunities outside the home in a safe and caring setting for older adults with mild to moderate memory loss.  Rhodes Respite offers care partners personal time away during the day in which to rest and address their personal needs.  In addition, dementia education, resource information and emotional coping counseling is available.

Rhodes Respite is an outreach is an outreach ministry of First Presbyterian Church Anderson, South Carolina.

  • Rhodes Respite is overseen by the Respite Board.  The Respite Board is composed of nine members with three-year rotating terms.  Board approved guidelines for board members’ responsibilities have been developed to give specific direction regarding service expectations.  
  • The Respite Board approves policies and goals and oversees and supports the program.
  • The Respite Board is accountable to the Session in matters of church policy, Board membership and personnel.
  • The Respite Board makes recommendations to the Session regarding staffing, budget and fundraising.

This ministry provides a safe, loving environment for the well-being of each participant.  A variety of activities are designed to socially, creatively, intellectually, physically and spiritually stimulate the bodies and minds of the participants.  Examples of some of these activities include group singing, arts and crafts, community service projects, reminiscing, exercising, games, puzzles, intergenerational programs and socialization activities.

This ministry provides respite (an interval of rest and relief) for the caregiver.  It supports the efforts of the family to keep the loved one at home as opposed to at an assisted living facility.  This ministry can also provide information regarding available community care, resources, Alzheimer’s information and caregiver education.

Rhodes Respite sessions are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 1:45pm.  These hours are strictly managed as the program is NOT considered a licensed adult day care program.  Advanced notification of closing on holidays or other times will be communicated to participants and caregivers.  For inclement weather, Rhodes Respite follows Anderson School District 5 decisions.

Admission to the program is based on the initial interview with the director as well as the applicant’s ongoing ability to participate in a group setting.  The following criteria are taken into consideration when evaluating if an applicant is capable of participation.

  • Medical stability – Although a participant may be frail with some physical problems, they must be medically stable.
  • Ability to ambulate independently without assistive devises and without potential danger to self or others.
  • Ability to perform daily living activities independently including eating and toileting.
  • Ability to interact and socialize with others.
  • Ability to exhibit acceptable behavior in a group setting.
  • Must be continent. 

The following would be rationale for excluding an applicant from Rhodes Respite.

  • More than two consecutive, unnotified absences.
  • Incontinence.
  • Disruptive or combative behavior.
  • Psychosis.
  • Communicable disease.
  • Need for continual one-on-one supervision.
  • Serious elopement risk.
  • Balance or ambulatory problems.
  1. An interview will be conducted either in person or via telephone by the Director and if the participant meets criteria, an invitation will be extended for the participant and family to attend a no-cost visit day. After an evaluation is made, the Director will contact the family caregiver to complete all necessary paperwork. 
  2. The participant and the family complete the enrollment form and pay the one-time registration fee of $40 and the monthly fee of $350.

To ensure proper communication between the caregiver, director and assistant director, the three will meet twice yearly to review the policies and procedures and to discuss the participant’s progress.

Examples of reasons for discharging a participant from the program are the same as those listed under the Admissions Criteria.

  • More than two consecutive, unnotified absences.
  • Incontinence.
  • Disruptive or combative behavior.
  • Psychosis.
  • Communicable disease.
  • Need for continual one-on-one supervision.
  • Serious elopement risk.
  • Balance or ambulatory problems.

When one of the points listed under discharge criteria occurs, the caregiver will be asked to meet with the director, assistant director and a board member to discuss the incident.  The incident will be documented in writing and the participant will then be put on a 3-month observation period.

At the end of the 3-month observation period, the caregiver, director, assistant director and a board member will meet to discuss next steps for the participant.

If the participant is too far outside of the resources of Rhodes Respite during the 3-month observation period, then Rhodes reserves the right to ask for a meeting earlier than at the end of the 3-months.

Consideration of discharge from the program will be discussed with the family members before a final decision of termination is made in order to give as much advanced notice as possible.  Upon the final decision, discharge will occur.  Fees that have accrued must be paid before daily fees paid in advance are refunded.

There is a one-time fee of $40 to register for the program.  The monthly fee is $350 and it is to be paid in advance by the 10th of each month to ensure uninterrupted participation in the program.  Checks should be made to “First Presbyterian Church.”

Participants are expected to attend the program as scheduled.  If a participant is unable to attend, then the caregiver MUST notify the director by 9am via 864-245-1694. (24hrs in advance is recommended.) 

Non-attendance affects set-up, staffing and meal ordering.  Secondly, this program serves a critical community need and there is a waitlist for participation.  If more than two unannounced consecutive absences have occurred, then the director will contact the caregiver to discuss discharge as to allow someone on the waitlist to participate.

The director and assistant director are trained in First Aid and CPR.  Trained volunteers provide additional staffing and are briefed on the essential background of participants and confidentiality.  The ratio of volunteers to participants is 2 to 3 participants for every 1 volunteer.  

All volunteers attend regular training programs and meet the Safe Church guidelines that include background checks.  The program may be observed by visitors.  These visits are pre-arranged, allowed and managed at the discretion of the director.

A mid-morning snack and a nutritious lunch are served at each session.  Beverages such as coffee, tea, water and juice are available to participants.  Food allergies, specific preferences and other concerns should be submitted in writing prior to the participant’s first day of attendance.

It is vital that the line of communication between the caregivers and the program director remain open.  If the family of the participant has concerns, then he/she must discuss these issues with the director.  As to not interrupt the program, we ask that these concerns be discussed via appointment outside of the program hours.

Participants needing to take medication during the program hours must be able to take the medication independently.  As we are unable to store or administer medications, participants must keep the medication with them during the session.  

Program staff may remind a participant to take his/her medication.  However, program staff may NOT administer any medications including Tylenol.  Family members must take full responsibility for medication administration.

Caregivers should NOT allow a person with fever, symptoms of a cold, flu, virus or other infection to attend.  Caregivers should notify the director of the reason for the absence.  Secondly, if any illness or suspicious occurrence happens immediately following a session, it should be reported to the program director.

The staff is NOT allowed to act as medical professionals.  Therefore, if the participant shows signs of illness, fever, serious change in cognitive or behavioral status, then the director will contact the caregiver to take the ill participant home and/or to seek medical attention.

Sickness and accidents occurring during the program that result in physical injury or suspected physical injury will be reported to the director who will arrange for appropriate medical attention.  The caregiver or other emergency contact will be contacted immediately and emergency actions will be taken.  If determined to be necessary, the director will call 911 and the participant will be transported to the closest hospital (AnMed Health).

The director will keep a confidential file for each participant that includes the following:

  • Admission application.
  • Medical form.
  • Consent for emergency treatment.
  • Photo release form.
  • Personal interest history.
  • Verification of having read policies and procedures.
  • Living Will if applicable or DNR order if applicable.

All outside building doors of First Presbyterian Church are kept locked at all times.  An emergency exit procedure is in place.  Families are highly encouraged to purchase for participants the Medical Alert + Safe Return ID bracelet available through the Alzheimer’s Association.

If families would like a personal paid attendant to assist the participant during the session, then the caregiver should discuss this option with the director.  The family must organize payment for the attendant as well as payment for snacks and meals.

All staff, volunteers and participants and personal attendants are covered under First Presbyterian of Anderson’s insurance policy.

A grievance procedure is in place to provide an avenue for caregivers, staff and volunteers to express any significant dissatisfaction related to program quality, administration and staff working conditions and/or relations.  Complete and specific grievance procedures may be obtained in writing from the program director or Rhodes Respite Board Chair.

Nancy Smith

Director of Rhodes Respite Care

Ms. Smith has been a resident of Anderson, SC, since 2013, when Nancy began her work as a qualified caregiver for persons with dementia and all stages of Alzheimer’s.  Nancy’s career in healthcare has been long and varied, beginning in Binghamton, NY, her native community.  Nancy has presented and represented the business interests of the Binghamton area’s largest tertiary healthcare system, a best-in-class behavioral health system of care, and various other ancillary care providers. Nancy has held volunteer board positions for a number of community-based organizations in both New York and as a member of the Anderson community.