Social Work team helps families help themselves

From the Director of Social Work, Karri Kaiser, MSW

Social workers are often asked to explain what we do. My answer is that we help people learn to manage and solve challenges, both emotional and practical. Every day on the job is different, and that’s one of the things I love about social work at Mission Hospice.

Our team provides emotional support, family mediation, life review, and grief counseling. We also help connect people to the financial, insurance, and community resources they need.

Social Workers Karri Kaiser, Meechal Hall, and Sara Martinez confer about how best to support a patient and his family members.

One of my roles as the Director of Social Work is to play matchmaker between family and social worker, leveraging individual interests and talents in a way that honors and respects each patient’s values.

The diverse team of 15 social workers at Mission Hospice offers a breadth of expertise, including veterans’ affairs, conflict resolution, and bilingual support – we have social workers fluent in Spanish, Chinese, German, and Hebrew.

Mission Hospice thrives on teamwork. Our social work group meets regularly – often with other members of the care team – to discuss cases and work through challenges. We’ll discuss potential approaches, role play, and problem-solve, tapping the expertise and experience of the group as a whole.

Pre-bereavement and bereavement support is an important part of our job. I’m proud that in addition to our general drop-in grief support groups, we now also offer groups specifically designed for Spanish speakers, those who have lost a parent, those who have lost a spouse or partner, and young widows and widowers.

Sometimes people ask me how I can do this work, but it is truly a joy. We help people gain dignity and identify meaning, both in the past and in the present. By listening, we learn something from each patient about this road we will all go down.