Social Workers are “Essential”

Kristine Solberger

Big Bend Hospice (BBH) is honoring and highlighting their social workers during March as part of National Social Workers Month. This year’s appropriate theme “Social Workers are Essential” expresses what hospice patients, families, and BBH staff have always known. Social Workers are part of the Interdisciplinary team that continued to care for hospice patients and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As skilled practitioners, social workers receive graduate and post-graduate education and training to address the impact of psychosocial stressors in individuals, families, and communities. This has never been more important than helping those facing isolation during a pandemic or seeking quality of life when diagnosed with a serious illness.

BBH social workers are pursuing or have obtained advanced palliative and hospice certification. “They are committed to compassionately honoring the individuality of each patient and family member,” says Kristine Solberger, LCSW, APHSW-C. “They are skilled in facilitating difficult conversations, providing education for end-of-life care, long-term care planning, advanced directives, and final arrangements. In so doing, they empower patients and families to make informed decisions about the care they desire.”

BBH Social workers facilitate symptom management through nonpharmacological interventions. They provide anticipatory and actual grief counseling; recognizing each patient and each family member’s experience is unique. They promote both the physical and psychological safety of patients and families. They serve as advocates, linking patients and families to community resources and benefits they may be entitled to receive.

BBH also offers bereavement counselors who are also licensed, social workers. They are committed to supporting and caring for caregivers, families, and members of our community. They also provide individual and group grief and loss counseling. Our dedicated bereavement team provides individual and group counseling, as well as grief and loss events for children, teens, and their families. Our social workers recognize their fortune in sharing a part in supporting and caring for the individuals and families they are privileged to serve.

During the month of March, BBH is highlighting each of their 18 “essential” Social Workers on Facebook and encourages everyone to take time to learn more about the many positive contributions of the profession.

For more information about the Social Workers impact on Hospice Services, contact Big Bend Hospice at 850-878-5310.

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