Posted tagged ‘social workers’

The stories speak for themselves

August 12, 2015

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Marketing Manager

tiny piano appA while back I shared a few stories from our social workers who have been successfully connecting with dementia patients by using applications they’ve downloaded onto their iPads.  These patients, normally unresponsive, have surprised the social workers and especially their family members by interacting and showing interest in what the iPad apps have to offer.  Here are a few more stories to warm your heart.

From Lesley:

I used my iPad to pull up the main street of East Aurora, NY for a resident in memory care.  He was born there and had a big smile as he watched the video.  For another resident, I used my iPad to pull up a video of New York City taxi cabs because he told me that’s how he used to get around when he lived there.  He laughed at the video saying, “That’s how they drive!  Nothing like New York City!”

From Tanya:

I have an elderly female patient who has significant cognitive and communication deficits.  She sleeps over 20 hours a day and is lethargic when awake.  She used to play the piano and organ at her church, but she has a hearing deficit now so playing music is not very beneficial.  But when I open the Tiny Piano application on my iPad, she becomes awake and animated.  She touches the keys with her usually unused hands; playing this small piano brings her such joy as evidenced by the nonstop smile on her face. But she’s also getting range of motion to her hands and fingers, which is an added benefit.

It is so gratifying to be able to touch the lives of these patients and to watch the excited faces of their loved ones as they observe the interaction.  We relish these opportunities to restore quality of life to patients.  Most of them don’t have the ability to tell us how much they enjoy these visits from our social workers, but their faces (and these stories) do it for them.

Meet Lee Wilson

July 1, 2011

Lee Wilson, Senior Director of HPCLC

It’s been almost a month since Leslie Barlowe retired from Hospice & Palliative Care Lincoln County.  And yes, we miss her.  But it’s time for you loyal Hospice Matters readers to get to know Lee Wilson, our brand spankin’ new director of the Lincoln County office.  Because he’s off to a great start!

Lee joined our organization in 2007.  Funny thing was, he was working for a different hospice organization and was looking for new recruits to join his team.  Turns out, some contacts he knew from HPCLC told Lee that he should consider the available social worker position within their organization.  Lee was intrigued.  The number of hats he was wearing for his job at the time was weighing him down and the thought of focusing on just one main job was liberating, to say the least.  With a Masters in Social Work and a career history in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and hospice, Lee was a perfect candidate.  He took the job.

Lee was impressed with how integrated HPCLC was within the Lincolnton community and it was a big factor in his decision to join the organization.  “I could sense such a passion for this organization from the community.  And vice versa.  Our staff members are not just caring for patients.  They’re caring for their neighbors; the people they grew up with.”

He was also impressed that Leslie took great care making sure that he was adjusting to his position and showing an interest in his personal growth.  “It was clear that she wanted me to be successful.  She took such an interest in her staff and really encouraged us.”  And four years later, when Leslie decided to retire, she once again encouraged him — to take on the position of senior director of Hospice & Palliative Care Lincoln County

So Lee Wilson finds himself in the driver’s seat, during one of the most challenging times that the hospice industry, as a whole, has faced.  With increased competition, and tightening budgets, Lee is carving his own path and trying to create his own successful legacy, as Leslie Barlowe did before him.  “I want us to grow, but we need to be intentional in our growth.  We need to maintain our core values and, most of all, our integrity.  We’ll grow and we’ll still provide extraordinary care in our community.”

Lee Wilson’s got his foot on the pedal and the car in gear.  And an open road ahead of him.  It’s going to be a great trip.

“Oh, bless your. . . . hands?”

May 24, 2011

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

“Oh, bless your heart!” 

It’s a thoroughly down-to-the-core, southern phrase that you will most likely hear spoken only below the Mason-Dixon Line.  It’s a saying that connotes sweetness, sincerity, and sometimes even a little sympathy.  It’s never said in a necessarily bad way, but there are some times when you just don’t want your heart to be the one they’re talking about.

Now a phrase that you never hear (but maybe you should) is “Oh, bless your hands!”  Think about it.  Think of all the ways we use our hands on a daily basis to create positive energy.  Construction workers build homes.  Talented knitters make beautiful, warm sweaters and blankets.  Mothers’ hands make boo-boos go away and fevers subside, seemingly by touch.  And in the healthcare industry (especially end-of-life care providers), we use our hands to care for our patients.

Nurses and Nursing Assistants use their hands to calm the anxious and agitated.  Physicians use their hands to diagnose problems and write prescriptions for medications that soothe the pain.  Social workers and chaplains offer their hands for holding — to family members grieving and struggling to hold on.  These are special hands we’re talking about.  Ones that deserve to be blessed for the holy work they do.

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of attending a ceremony that did just that; a “Blessing of the Hands” for the staff of The Cypress, a long-term care community in the Southpark area.  Over the course of an hour, two of our chaplains, Allison Rizk and Larry Dawalt, said prayers and poured water (mixed with oils symbolizing comfort and hope) over the hands of more than 30 staff members.  It was a beautiful and sincerely touching ceremony.  And it was meaningful because everyone walked away knowing how important their work is and how valued they — and their hands — are.  Not only to their patients, but to HPCCR as well.

Before I left, my hands were blessed too.  My hands, that type these words, may not directly touch our patients, but they are nonetheless valued.  Because they tell the stories.  They (hopefully) raise awareness about the tremendous services that are palliative medicine and hospice care.  They write about the sanctity of our work and they describe the extraordinary human beings that offer their talents to us so that we can serve our community every day.  My hands, just like yours, serve others and they deserve to be blessed too.

The blessing below is the very one that our chaplains offered at the Cypress.  As you read them, be thankful for what you accomplish every day with your hands.  And then consider them blessed.  Not in the southern way — sentimental and slightly sympathetic.  But in a holy way.

May you be blessed with a spirit of gentleness and a heart that is tender.
May you be blessed with a spirit of strength shining within  you.
May you be blessed with a spirit of compassion and a fervent caring.
May you be blessed with a spirit of courage, daring to be who you are.
May you be blessed with a spirit of openness, understanding, and respect.
May the earth hold you.
May the wind lift you ever up.
May the fire draw and warm you.
May the water soothe your soul.
May you walk in oneness of purpose, extending grace and dignity with your whole being.