March is Social Work Month when we celebrate and recognize the great individuals who work in the profession. Hillcrest Healthcare’s three communities each have social services staff who go above and beyond to assist the patients and residents.
Diana Fisher, director of business development praises their contributions. “Our social workers are the drivers of transitions for our residents. From admission to discharge, they are the champions of patient advocacy to promote connection and emotional well-being. Hillcrest Healthcare is very fortunate to have incredible teams of social workers who support patients and help them overcome their challenges and reach their maximum potential. They truly exemplify a heart of service to others.”
Elizabeth Goodman is the social services director at our West Hills community. She says that the most important thing she can do is listen. “Residents and patients want someone who cares to listen to them – their stories, complaints and all – they want to feel heard and important. I enjoy working with both residents and families, and I learn so much from them. “
Lavonda Cantrell, director of marketing and special projects, has a deep appreciation for the social services teams. “Although March is National Social Work Month, the impact our social services staff make in the lives of the residents we serve is worthy of praise and gratitude all year round. They’re vital members of our healthcare team. They provide emotional support to patients and families as they are faced with making difficult healthcare decisions and offer guidance and resources to meet each person’s individualized needs. They are patient advocates who work each day to access healthcare and services for every patient and challenge they face. I admire our social workers’ passion and heart. They touch so many lives in extraordinary ways.”
David Malone is the director of social services at the Beverly Park Place community. He’s worked there for nine years and oversees a team that includes two additional social workers. They work with both rehab and long-term care residents. The team members strive to give residents the best life they can have, communicating with families, working with activities, nursing, dietary and more to see how they can better meet patient needs. They check in with patients and provide support and perform clinical assessments for cognitive abilities, mood and behavior assessments. For rehab patients they work with insurance to advocate for therapy and other services.
David shares that he helps residents by being a stable, constant presence. “They know they can rely on me and that I’m here and I care. I’m a natural problem solver, so I enjoy thinking through scenarios and helping navigate difficult issues. I love patient interaction – the stories I have from patients over the years – I get fulfilled through so much richness from the patients. If you get to know people, this senior community, there are so many stories that stick with you. Social work is so very rewarding.”
The Island Home community is served by Social Services Director Rachel Watson. She gets encouraged by empowering others. “We make patients’ lives better because with us, they always have an advocate – someone to stand for their rights and give them a voice. We get to make positive changes in their lives.” She notes that a lot of the work is coordination – especially for medical visits for vision, dental, podiatry and so much more, and that the staff and residents are all a family. “I’ve been here for seven years, and we’ve been through a lot. I consider the residents to be my family. So, when I do my work, I’m advocating for my family. I care for them like they’re my family. Knowing them on an intimate level makes all the paperwork and coordination so much more rewarding.”
We send a huge Hillcrest THANK YOU to all who work in social services and our great social workers across our communities. We invite you to follow Hillcrest Healthcare on Facebook to keep up with all the great things happening in our communities.