VNA of Ohio’s June Mental and Behavioral Health Webinar provided an overview of lessons learned by...
Social Work: Patient Care, Connection, and Guidance
Social worker Alpha Sudano spends her days supporting VNA of Ohio patients and clients as they navigate home-based healthcare services. She has proudly spent the past 7 years fulfilling our mission to provide superior, comprehensive, and compassionate care for our community wherever they call home.
- What types of services do you offer for home healthcare patients?
I primarily work with our Hospice services but do help with Medical Surgical homecare and Mental and Behavioral health homecare.
I often support patients as a liaison to referrals for “community resources.” Once we complete our home healthcare services, I help patients find ongoing support from organizations such as Meals on Wheels and veteran services.
Hospice patients and families sometimes require resources as well, but more often I offer social and emotional support for these individuals. Our Hospice services include bereavement care and also support our bereavement director in her role.
- How do your patients come to find your services?
New or prior home healthcare patients can reach out to us directly for services or come to us through a doctor’s referral. When Hospice services are requested, a team of service providers, including skilled nurses, home health aides, spiritual care providers, and our social work services come together as a team to help the patient and their family.
The Hospice team will visit the patients independently or together, depending on the patient’s circumstances. If immediate care is required, we all will visit the patient together and support the entire family’s needs at once. When longer care is likely, we visit separately to evaluate what the patient will need over their time in our care. Our team meets every 2 weeks to discuss our caseloads and decide how to best support each patient.
- Do you work in tangent with other areas of service within the VNA of Ohio?
Yes, we partner with Mental and Behavioral services if a patient in their care suffers a loss during their treatment and needs emotional support. As I mentioned, we also provide community resources to all patients under VNA of Ohio homecare services to help them find the support they need once our services are complete.
- What have you learned about patient care in your role?
I have learned many things over the years. I work alongside 3 social workers and we assist many home-based healthcare patients. I often work independently and I enjoy figuring out how to serve patients on my own. Sometimes patients have concerns outside of my social and emotional support services. I work hard to refer patients to the correct medical specialists for specific medical concerns and to legal specialists for legal advice. Patients lean on me but I know my limits and have learned how to navigate with them and when to guide them to the correct services.
- Do you have any advice for any patients dealing with the effects of long-term home healthcare?
I recommend that patients ask questions and complete research about their areas of concern. There is good information and tons of great resources available.
If Hospice services will be a long term situation, I know that patients will need to find support to help them. I will continue to provide help in finding these. Even after we complete our home healthcare services, patients may have lingering issues and we are here to help them get what they need to carry on. I encourage them to also lean on their support networks in the community and within their families.
Contact us and we will be happy to help care for you!