The Valuable Work of Social Workers at Community Memorial Health System

March is National Social Work Month Highlighting the Important Contributions of Social Workers

Community Memorial Health System’s Medical Social Work Team is an integral part of our healthcare organization. Social Work services are integrated into the care plan when a patient’s illness substantially impacts psychological, social, occupational and/or family wellness. Social Workers assess the needs of patients and develop plans that address their individual and unique needs.

Our Medical Social Workers offer services that include:

  • Consultation:  Assisting patients and their families in dealing with their feelings, fears, and concerns about their illness.
  • Patient Advocacy: Putting patients at the center of their healthcare coordination and identifying and connecting them to available community resources and support
  • Discharge Planning: Collaborating with RN Case Managers and other members of the healthcare team to comprehensively identify and address needs as patients transition from the hospital to manage their health in the community.

Last year, CMHS integrated a multi-disciplinary team comprised of nurses, social workers and  clergy who participated in an intensive two-day training called Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, a program designed for workers in high crisis settings. This “emotional first-aid” training helped our team develop “Supportive Care for our CMHS Family”, which is a structured intervention to support staff after exposure to a critical event. This is meant for all team members who are directly impacted by a critical or extraordinary event.

The goal is to reduce staff burnout, prevent emotional exhaustion, high turnover or worker absenteeism.

“The goal of the Supportive Care program is to provide a platform for staff to intentionally discuss an extraordinary or unsettling work related event, in a structured and safe environment,” says Jen Tougas, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Social Work Manager at CMHS.  “We strive to create and keep up a culture of caring so we’re not burning out to a point of no return. We care about each other. We want people to love their jobs and patients and be able to rebound after a really difficult day.”

In honor of National Social Work Month in March, all of us at CMHS would like to extend a huge “Thank You” to our social workers for all they do!

The Community Memorial Health System Social Services team includes (L-R) Elira Garcia, Kathy Lee-Perez, Jen Tougas, Giselle Gillmon, Cynthia Gonzalez, Carmen Castaneda, Sara Mulitauopele, Giovanni Holguin, Christine Tucker and John Henke.