Landmark celebrates Social Work Month in March. The theme this year is, “Social Workers Are Essential.” Social workers help individuals, families and communities address personal and systemic barriers to well-being. Social workers empower people with the knowledge and resources they need to self-direct their lives.
During Social Work Month, we highlight the positive contributions of the profession and celebrate our social workers at Landmark. The following examples show how essential Landmark social workers are to their communities.
James – Behavioral Health Needs
Landmark delivers care to individuals with complex health and psychosocial needs. Mariam, a Landmark social worker in Kansas City, bridged the gap between the medical and social needs for James, age 72. James was referred to Mariam to help him find housekeeping support, but Mariam’s assessment extended beyond just his surface needs.
James has experienced loss this year with the passing of his son. Mariam recommended that James explore behavioral health support for his grief and to help him adjust to being the full-time guardian to his 10-year old grandson. Mariam connected James with housekeeping support services and helped him with the local school system to ensure that the support included his grandson as well.
John – Challenges with Quadriplegia
Cindy, a Landmark social worker in Arkansas, is working with John, age 30, who has quadriplegia. John’s mother is his primary caretaker. John has complex health care needs and the family has complicated psychosocial stressors. Cindy identified financial difficulties for John and his mother that impeded his access to care. Cindy explored resources available to the family, such as Meals on Wheels, medication assistance programs and utility assistance. Cindy also recognized that along with John’s health condition and age come behavioral health needs. Cindy explained her concern to his care team to ensure that all aspects of his care were being addressed.
Josephine – Transition to an Assisted Living Facility
Josephine, age 70, was living alone with help from her sister, who lived nearby. Josephine had been hospitalized five times in 2020 and was heading into her third stay at a skilled nursing facility. Lena, a Landmark social worker in Oregon, worked with Josephine’s primary care doctor closely as Josephine’s health status began to require a higher level of daily care. During Josephine’s third skilled nursing facility stay, Josephine told the facility staff that she wanted to be discharged back to her home. Josephine’s sister was concerned for her safety living alone without significant support. Lena helped facilitate healthy dialogue between the two sisters while Josephine was still at the skilled nursing facility. Lena assisted in a smooth transition for Josephine to an assisted living facility where she now lives, feeling happy and supported. Had it not been for the timely work of Lena, Josephine would have been discharged to her home, and likely would have ended up back in the hospital in time.
Gary – Help with Government Benefits
Betty, a Landmark social worker in California, helped Gary, age 57, obtain state disability benefits after his claim was denied for no work history. Betty reviewed the denial and found that Gary’s social security number was off by one number. She wrote a letter on patient’s behalf and the state disability was approved retroactively, granting Gary over $12,000 that he was rightfully due. This is the second time Betty has been successful in assisting a patient to obtain benefits. The first was related to reimbursement for treatment expenses that should have been covered by health plan benefits. With Betty’s diligence, she made a significant difference in these patients’ financial lives, which is especially impactful during the pandemic.
Pandemic Support to the Community
The Landmark team of social workers in Western New York demonstrated the importance of social workers during a pandemic. The team supported their community in countless ways. Despite the pandemic, they continued to navigate intense family dynamics, advocate on behalf of patients with their medical providers and collaborated with community agencies to ensure they were connected to services and supports. This team of social workers also delivered clothing, items from food pantries, and an air conditioner during a heat wave. The social workers called agencies for resource updates for patients, assisted patients with financial strains, and worked with patients struggling with mental, physical and emotional health.
What social workers do, every day, in or outside of a pandemic, is provide compassion, empathy, tears, celebrating, grieving, patience, listening, sacrifice, commitment, hope and joy.