All posts by Circle of Care

Holocaust Education Event Focuses on Survivor Experiences

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Dori Ekstein poses with her late father, a Holocaust survivor who was imprisioned at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Dori Ekstein poses with her father, a Holocaust survivor who was imprisioned at Auschwitz concentration camp, before he passed away in December, 2016.

Circle of Care is one of the ten largest recipients world-wide to receive home care funding from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany in support of Holocaust survivors.

On April 24, Circle of Care employees connected with children of Holocaust survivors to better understand the unique challenges and circumstances faced by survivors and their families. The education event was held in recognition of Yom HaShoah – Israel’s day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

During the session, guests including Dori Ekstein (pictured at left with her father) shared details of their parents’ experiences during the war as a way of providing context for the emotional trauma and physical limitations that persist among many of Circle of Care’s 1,400 Holocaust clients. Whether forced into hiding from Nazi captors, sent to meet their fate at notorious concentration camps, or separated from their families and evacuated to safety with other children – every survivor came away from the war with a distinct experience that continues to impact their personal relationships, coping abilities and related health conditions, particularly as they age.

“It’s an honour to be able to provide care and support for our aging survivor clients,” says Carey Lucki, CEO of Circle of Care and VP, Sinai Health System. “Taking time to hear these courageous stories, and respecting the memories that live on, will allow us to continue to meet the needs of our Holocaust clients with the dignity they deserve.”

A Smoother Passage from Hospital to Home

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Toward the end of a hospital stay, it can be common for patients and caregivers to feel anxious about the transition back home due to a lack of understanding around care management and how to access community supports that will aid in the recovery process. To help address this gap, a collaborative pilot program was launched at Mount Sinai Hospital that leverages Circle of Care’s expertise in the home health care sector.

Through a generous donation from the Max and Larry Enkin Family Foundation, a community social worker from Circle of Care was assigned to Mount Sinai Hospital as a dedicated Social Work Care Navigator. In this role, Revital Shuster works with patients and families pre- and post-discharge to make sure the appropriate community supports are put in place to ensure a successful transition home, and to reduce the risk of readmission.

“We know that patients ultimately want to be back home with their loved ones,” says Shuster, “But it can be overwhelming to figure out who to call for help. By connecting people to resources and advocating on their behalf, the transition from hospital to home is being significantly improved.”

The Social Work Care Navigator pilot is one of Sinai Health System’s first integration initiatives. Typically, a hospital social worker provides recommendations for resources and supports in the community upon discharge, but for patients with complex health issues and/or multiple social support requirements, the coordination of these services is often difficult and overwhelming. By connecting the Care Navigator with patients who require significant post-discharge support, the intended result is a more seamless transition that paves the way to better outcomes.

“Our Social Work Care Navigator’s role extends beyond the hospital walls and follows the patient back into the community,” says Carey Lucki, CEO, Circle of Care and VP, Sinai Health System. “This warm hand-off ensures hospital staff feel confident about their discharge plan, and the likelihood of a return to a crowded Emergency Department or hospital readmission is reduced.”

In fact, since the program began, over 90% of complex patients who had involvement with Shuster have remained at home. Data collection is ongoing as we continue to evolve and develop this role.

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