Say social worker and many people think of homeless shelters, adoption agencies, and welfare offices. You also find social workers at student counseling centers, providing psychotherapy in clinics and private practice, in Employee Assistance programs, on disaster relief teams, and here at Gilchrist Hospice Care.
All Gilchrist social workers have a masters degree from an accredited school of social work and are licensed by State of Maryland to provide counseling and support . We are trained to understand the psychological and social factors which underlie people’s thoughts, feeling, and behaviors. As our patients and families face a terminal illness, the challenges may seem overwhelming. Our social workers counsel patients and families through these emotional and problem solving challenges by engendering hope, empowering patient and families, and reducing distress.
We do this by joining our patients and families; suspending our own views and attempting to see their world through their eyes. We learn how they have coped with past difficult situations and use family and community support. Knowing their goals and concerns, we embark on journey with them. Our social workers have the skills to understand the emotional responses which can be so distressing and interfere with clear thinking and problem solving. The challenges patients and families face are as varied as they are: decisions which need to be made; taking that one last special trip; reviewing one’s accomplishments and shortcomings; getting help with care giving or taking a break; dealing with family conflicts; imagining life without a loved one; facing and lowering the anxiety and dread of impending loss; and finding resources needed at each stage of the journey.
While most families are resilient and will rebound with support, for some it threatens to be too much. At these times social workers are called upon to evaluate suicide risk, neglect or abuse; develop a safety plan or help find a new location of care.
Whatever the challenge, social work counseling helps restore hope for a peaceful end of life, with quality and dignity and renews family confidence in their ability to face emotional stress and solve problems. We leave them with knowledge that talking helps and that social workers and bereavement counselors are available at any time during end of life journey and afterwards.
Many thanks to our compassionate and dedicated social workers!