Care response team training preps 2BCT spouses, family members to serve others

| May 21, 2010 | 0 Comments

Pfc. Robert England
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Spouses and family members from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, are once again being reminded of the crucial roles they play within the Army community as members of the Care Response Team, or CRT, during ongoing training at the brigade classroom, here, on post. 

During the training that began April 20-21, and continued May 18-19, Col. Patricia Frost, the senior adviser to 2nd BCT family readiness group leaders, informed brigade supporters of the importance of having CRTs, as well as ways they can contribute or become a member.

A CRT is a specialized team of brigade-first responders, who assist families following official notification of situations involving critical injury or death. 

CRT members are selected and assessed by brigade and battalion FRG leaders, and they are assigned by the rear detachment commander based upon availability and the situation. 

Volunteers assist family members and are bound by confidentiality to protect the privacy of the spouse or family.

Despite 2nd BCT’s mission as an advise and assist brigade, the dangers of being in a war zone remain. 

Although no one wants to acknowledge the subject, the possibility of a Soldier not coming home is always there. It is this possibility that creates a need for the CRT.

The CRT’s duty is to provide a support team during the first 48-72 hours after notification of a circumstance to ensure that the spouse or family members of the Soldier receive timely and effective care until the unit FRGs mobilize. The CRT sends a clear message that the spouse or family member is not alone while ensuring a noninvasive presence within the home.

“The rear detachment has these volunteers that can be activated at a moment’s notice and provide immediate short-term support,” said Elisabeth Olsen, outreach director,  Army Community Service.

Providing support to spouses or family members during one of the most difficult experiences of their lives is no simple task, as the meaning of the word “support” may vary from one situation to the next. 

Support may include basic emotional help or comfort in the absence of close family or friends. It may also entail making phone calls to family or friends, or even screening calls at the request of the spouse. Assistance with minor housekeeping, care and feeding of small children, and coordinating meals if the spouse or family member cannot perform such a basic function may be CRT duties.

A CRT may be activated for any number of reasons. For example, the death or serious injury of a Soldier or leader, either in theater or in garrison, is a circumstance that requires CRT assistance. 

Suicide, mass casualty situations and the death of a spouse or child in garrison are also reasons to begin the CRT activation process, which  begins with a briefing to a chaplain and casualty notification officer, or CNO. 

The rear detachment commander informs the brigade FRG leader, assesses the situation and places CRTs on standby. 

During notification of death or injury, the chaplain and CNO ask the spouse if he or she would like CRT assistance, and CRTs are available immediately upon request. 

The rear detachment commander will then determine the scope and duration of CRT support after consulting with the chaplain and CNO.

The brigade has already begun final preparations for its deployment to Iraq, including preparing families for potential situations that may arise during a Soldier’s deployment and establishing support groups in case of emergency. 

Category: News

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