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Maria V., Social Worker – Care Navigator, is the recipient of the 2021-2022 Award for Accountability – one of the highest honours within Circle of Care’s employee recognition program, Champions of Care.

Helping Others During Difficult Times

From a young age, helping others during difficult times has come naturally to Maria V.

When Maria’s mother had a bad fall and broke her foot, Maria quickly took on the role as her caregiver and as a result had to navigate multiple services and resources for her mother on her own. “It was challenging,” she says.

However, after Maria met her mother’s Care Coordinator, it sparked an interest for her that ultimately assisted her in her own career path.

Maria’s role as a caregiver, her experience working in a geriatrician’s office and her interaction with her mother’s Care Coordinator inspired Maria to pursue a Bachelor of Social Work and thereafter a Masters of Social Work.

“Those experiences taught me a lot about healthcare. I became interested in the field of social work and interested in working with older adults,” she says.

Maria pursued social work with the intent to exclusively work with older adults. However, in her current role as the Care Navigator for Bridgepoint, she works with both young and older adults who have been discharged from Bridgepoint hospital.

She describes it as a “very rewarding” role as she is able to assist clients in their transition from the hospital into their homes smoothly by ensuring they receive the services they require and that their home environment is safe.

“My favourite part of my job is that I can make a difference and provide a positive outcome in someone’s life by delivering the right support and advocacy,” she says.

Advocating for Those in Need

Over the past seven years at Circle of Care, Maria has demonstrated accountability, teamwork, and empathy towards her clients daily.

Recently, Maria discovered an 84-year-old Bridgepoint patient who had been discharged had poor living conditions at home, which included no food for him to eat. Maria connected with Sabrina, Senior Manager at Sinai Health, and advocated for the client to get a bed at Hillcrest RIU (Reintegration Unit) as he was deemed a high risk for falls and had limited support available at home.

In addition, Maria went grocery shopping for him for a couple of days, and dropped off food for the client. She also assisted him with submitting his application to Hillcrest. While the client was at Hillcrest, she collaborated with different providers to get the client’s home cleaned, arranged for new furniture, appliances and household items to be moved in, and coordinated extra community support to assist with his daily living activities.

Maria played a key role in ensuring the client’s voice was heard throughout the process.

“I believe we need to go above and beyond for those clients who are isolated and have little to no family or social support, as they usually fall through the cracks of the healthcare system,” says Maria.

The client expressed appreciation for Maria’s tremendous support as he was able to continue living at home as opposed to going to a long-term care home.

Celebrated for Her Contributions to Accountability

In June 2022, Maria was presented with Circle of Care’s Champions of Care Award for Accountability. This award is given to an employee who is trusted by many, helps provide a better quality of life, and showcases integrity and transparency in their role. She was nominated for this award by her colleague Sabrina from Sinai Health.

“Maria is a fantastic team member, a problem solver and advocate. It was a pleasure to work with her to support this patient,” says Sabrina.

As for Maria, receiving her award gave her the opportunity to celebrate the work that she’s been able to accomplish in her role as Care Navigator.

“It feels good to be recognized for the work that I do with passion and hard work,” says Maria. “I feel fortunate to work as the Care Navigator for Bridgepoint. I truly care about all my clients and in this role I can assist those who are mostly disadvantaged and who are deemed as high risk.”

Our Champions of Care program is designed to recognize employees who go above and beyond their day-to-day duties, and who exemplify Circle of Care’s values. Nominations are collected each year from April 1 to March 31, and winners are announced each June. We welcome nominations by Circle of Care clients and family members on behalf of staff members that you interact with. If you would like to nominate a Circle of Care employee for an award, please fill out our nomination form: https://www.circleofcare.com/champions-of-care-nomination-form/