Position: Palliative Care Program Social Worker
Organization: Monarch Healthcare
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
Jennifer is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who studied at CSU Long Beach for both BSW and MSW degrees in social work. She is advanced certified in Hospice and Palliative Care, and has specialized skills in Palliative Care and end of life conversations.
Jennifer has been working at Monarch Healthcare, an Optum company, since 2014 as their Palliative Care Program Social Worker. She supervises and manages a caseload of members who are very medically complex. In this position, she works with the member, family, and their medical team to discuss goals of care and treatment options, including end of life care. If there are barriers to care, she works to remove them, and advocate for the member. Jennifer has also developed and implemented bereavement protocol for the program to ensure that support is given to the member’s surviving loved ones if the member was unable to transfer to hospice prior to passing away. While this is a “9-5” position, Jennifer is usually available beyond the normal business hours and works hard getting her member's needs met. She will visit the member more than is expected to figure out creative solutions.
Prior to this position, Jennifer worked for a local hospice as part of their crisis response team.
Why should this person be nominated
Jennifer says “I have been working as a medical social worker since 2003. I have worked both inpatient and in the community visiting home of the people I serve. I love helping others, especially seniors. Many of the people I visit are isolated, depressed and in need of support. My job gives me satisfaction in knowing that I make a difference in someone’s life. I want to improve the quality of life in every one of my members.
I worked with a 65 year old homeless man who was diagnosed with skin cancer that had metastasized to his lungs. I was able to provide palliative care social work services to this member at a local bus stop. Because of his lack of permanent shelter, his oncologist was concerned about his ability to recover from treatment. I was able to work with OC department of mental health services and his oncologist office to get him temporary financial assistance, eventually SSI and even permanent housing support. This member needed someone to understand his needs and advocate for him.
I also worked with a woman who was in her 80’s who had advancing dementia and lived alone. She had no family, no support system and limited income. She was determined to be independent, despite the fact that she was forgetting to pay her bills, and had little to no food in her apartment. Through multiple visits, and lots of encouraging conversations, I was able to work with her and her budget to determine what matters most. She was determined not to move into an Assisted Living because she had a dog whom she did not think would be able to move in with her. After a few visits, she allowed me to contact a church friend. I was able to help them create a support system and providing rides to doctors and take her to church. There was a lot of calling, and advocating for this member. However her overall mood and depression was improved as a result of my visits and the support that I was able to provide by linking her to the community. After more than a year of keeping her safe in her home, she did move into an assisted living of her choosing with her dog. “ :)
We are all so thankful for you, Jennifer! You are a tenacious social worker with compassion and you make a difference for vulnerable seniors everyday!
Thank you for voting for Jennifer ~ let’s show her we appreciate her action on behalf or senior’s who need an advocate who goes the extra mile!