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Social workers honored

Published: Saturday, March 30, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
Hospice of the Rock River Valley social workers, Sarah Cebula (standing) and Debbie Dean (seated) were recognized during National Social Work Month. Photo submitted by Karen Voss.

DIXON – Hospice of the Rock River Valley recognized hospice social workers, Sarah Cebula and Debbie Dean during Social Work Month.

Social workers help struggling people every day.

It is with this concepts in mind that the theme for the month is “Weaving Threads of Resilience and Advocacy: The Power of Social Work.” 

Hospice social workers are part of the core services, working with other team members, addressing the physical, psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual effects of a person living with a terminal condition.

They complete a comprehensive assessment on every patient.

The assessment helps the social worker understand the needs, strengths and goals of the patient and family, as they cope with the effects of a progressive illness, dying, and death.

They also build a trust and relationship with the patient and family,, during a time of crisis and vulnerability.

With this understanding and trust established, the social worker can best help the family manage this difficult experience. Patients and families can be devastated in many ways by the dying and death of a loved one.

Hospice social workers help meet basic needs by educating and advocating for the patient and family.

The interventions may include counseling and support to deal with loss, grief, and bereavement before the death; helping patients and families deal with stress and conflicts; providing palliative care techniques for distressing symptoms, such as depression, pain, and anxiety; addressing ethical dilemmas; and providing visits and collaboration with hospice team members.

They also pay close attention to identifying other resources to meet needs such as rent, utilities or medical co-pays for medications; assisting patients and families navigate health systems and benefits; and end-of-life planning including advance directives.

Hospice of the Rock River Valley, a United Way agency, is a nonprofit freestanding hospice.

For more information about services and benefits of hospice care, visit www.hospicerockriver.org or call 815-288-3673.

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