Anthony Lupian, LCSW
Many of our patients are not physically or emotionally ready for hospice care. Those who need medical care at home can be served by our Advanced Care team, but a growing number of patients don’t fit neatly into either of those programs.
This is where our free Transitions program comes in – offering creative and flexible care that can be adapted to patients’ needs.
Launched in 2006, Transitions has been a lifeline for more than 500 patients, and our new Program Coordinator, Anthony Lupian, is making sure this lifeline gets to as many people as need it.
Working with LGBT youth in San Diego gave Anthony a taste for social work, and led him to graduate school at SF State for his MSW (Master of Social Work). After an internship with at-risk seniors in Berkeley and nearly five years serving mentally-ill clients in San Francisco, Anthony heard his former classmate Meechal Hall describe how much she loved being a social worker at Mission Hospice. In January, he became our first full-time Transitions Program Coordinator.
Anthony’s professional expertise is matched by his personal dedication to patients. He says his role is as a sounding board; sometimes he focuses on reducing patients’ stress and anxiety. Other conversations include patients’ wishes and fears. “We have a patient-comes-first approach,” he explains with a ready smile. “It’s an ongoing collaboration with the patient and family.”
The bounce in his step belies Anthony’s passion when he’s not working; he runs marathons. He especially loves the Presidio. “Everywhere you go there’s a hill. It’s a metaphor for life – keep going!”
Anthony definitely brings that energy to work: he and his team care for nearly 35 patients at a time. In addition to a social worker like Anthony, each Transitions team includes an outreach nurse and a volunteer. Together, they offer emotional support, resource coordination, medical advocacy, discussions about end of life, and grief counseling.
“The flexibility of the service is really the key,” Anthony explains. “This is a free service, so we aren’t bound by any Medicare requirements. It can be whatever it needs to be. Instead of focusing on paperwork, I can focus on the patients and family.”
“And if someone is ready to move into hospice care, we’ve already talked about it – so they know what to expect. Because we already have a relationship and know the patient, we are better able to support them. They’re not alone to figure it out.”
He spends much of his time educating patients and the medical community about how Transitions can help. His goal is to serve patients sooner, so they can focus on quality of life. “Hopefully, we can take some weight off their shoulders.”