Social Workers: Leaders. Advocates. Champions.

March 7, 2018  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

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March is Social Work Month! Celebrated each year, National Professional Social Work Month is an opportunity for more than 650,000 social workers across the country to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society.

As part of this month’s celebration, Social Work is hosting the following events at Michigan Medicine:

  • Patient & Family Panel: Social Workers as Leaders, Advocates, and Champions: 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday, March 12 in Danto Auditorium; featuring patient advisors Anne Baird, Rosemary Beradi, Kristin Dolsen and Christina Wiggins
  • Social Worker of the Year Award Ceremony: 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 28 in Towsley Sheldon Auditorium.

There are approximately 350 social workers who work throughout Michigan Medicine. In 2017, there were 212,671 documented patient interactions with social workers across the institution, with 54,196 of those being unique individual patients.

Michigan Medicine social workers support and serve patients dealing with psychosocial issues/concerns, bereavement, domestic violence/sexual assault, diagnosis and adjustment to illness. They provide counseling and/or mental health referrals, offer guidance on long- and short-term caregiver needs, long-term discharge planning, housing concerns and advance directive issues.

When Kristin Dolsen was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2010, she was filled with anxiety and overwhelmed about her diagnosis and treatment.

“Claire acknowledged and validated my emotions and allowed me to take the time I needed to heal,” Dolsen said about her social worker, Claire Casselman. “Claire helped me conquer my fear of big hospitals and as a result of that I am now a volunteer patient advisor here.”

Social workers also provide crisis intervention and support, and are often present with families during some of the most difficult moments in their lives.

For Christina Wiggins, a mother whose daughter, Audrey, died in the pediatric ICU, the support she received from social worker Lena Arend was life-saving.

“I’m grateful for the strength and support Lena showed during those final moments of Audrey’s transition when I fell apart,” said Wiggins. “She was the one person who stepped in to hold me up and help me get through letting Audrey go.”

In addition, there are limited resources social workers can access at Michigan Medicine to assist qualifying patients with emergency clothing, lodging, transportation, food and prescription needs through the Guest Assistance Program.

To be connected with a social worker in your clinical area, you may contact the Guest Assistance Program at 800-888-9825.