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Collage of social workers at Circle of Care

Our Social Workers Lead Change

This week we celebrate Social Work Week, and we highlight the wonderful and vital contributions that our social workers and social service workers make in the lives of our clients.

This year’s theme for Social Work Week is I Lead Change – below, our social workers give us a tiny peek into the wide variety of cases they undertake, and how they help lead change.

photo of Revital

Revital leads change in accessing affordable housing.

“I was assisting a client who had been forced to give up his housing. He was recovering from surgery and faced homelessness. He had limited financial resources to afford rent. I advocated for him and was able to find an affordable apartment option for him. I helped him submit the application within a day and he got approved to move in!”

photo of Natalie

Natalie leads change in addressing social isolation.

“I assisted an elderly couple who were isolated due to their inability to communicate in English. Additionally, they were being evicted from their apartment. I found them an apartment close to their doctors and a few community centers, helped them to furnish it and arranged for them to move. Their new building has many other tenants who speak their language and can help them adjust to their new home.”

photo of Kyla

Kyla leads change in bringing seniors out of social isolation.

“I’ve been leading the recruitment and assisting with the implementation of holiday programs for Holocaust Survivors. These programs bring clients out of isolation and provide a safe space for both discussion and celebration with people who have gone through similar experiences. Many of the clients who have attended have asked to be invited to the next program and have expressed gratitude for bringing survivors together during such a sensitive time.”

photo of Elinor

Elinor leads change in system navigation.

“My client had suffered from a stroke and hadn’t seen a doctor in years. I arranged for a home visiting doctor to visit him, and for assessments for support services. I assisted him with contacting Service Canada to file his taxes so he could receive his full pension. Finally, I contacted a Housing Worker to assist him with finding more appropriate housing. Now, he receives Personal Support Services and has moved to a more appropriate apartment.”

photo of social work student

Allison leads change by listening for the deeper story.

“I had an intake appointment with a client wanting to register for transportation services. However, after speaking with her, I realized that she was struggling her mental health and needed access to additional support. She was suffering from feelings of hopelessness. In addition to registering her for transportation services, I completed a social work referral for her, and she is now receiving the support she needs.”

photo of Patricia

Patricia leads change in providing supportive services.

“My socially isolated client was having panic attacks and calling 911 frequently, sometimes several times each week. I worked to address her social isolation. I linked her with a Phone Pal volunteer that calls weekly. I also coordinated homecare to assist with housekeeping. I made referrals to several Adult Day Programs, and coordinated transportation for her to attend. She was approved to receive PSW support to get ready for the ADP program. So far, she has attended the program twice, and she seems to enjoy it. She still calls 911, but less frequently than before.”

photo of Lisa

Lisa leads change in combating loneliness and isolation.

“I lead our Volunteer Resources team in exploring innovative ways to deliver volunteer-led programs. One new program is our Triple G pilot program that matches our elderly clients with mentor/mentee pairs from Big Brothers Big Sisters. After the first visit of a new pairing, the adult mentor told me, “We all had a ball! This match is going to be fun for us.”

photo of Anna

Anna leads change in client advocacy.

“I’ve been working with one of my more complex clients since late 2018. He doesn’t have any social support, and his common-law partner passed away. He started showing signs of dementia, which complicated his financial struggles. After a geriatric assessment, he was diagnosed with dementia. I’ve referred him for in-home primary care, and supported him through creating a care plan with the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT).”

photo of Yana

Yana leads change in system navigation and support.

“My client was struggling. They didn’t speak English and didn’t understand the Power of Attorney process. Their trust in incompetent people led them to be referred to the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. I intervened and advocating on behalf of my client. My advocacy ensured that this client’s wishes regarding legal representation were fulfilled. I also helped my client navigate the bureaucratic system and solve a number of their financial issues.”

photo of social work student

Leeann leads change in connecting clients to community resources.

“My client was a two-time double lung transplant survivor with very complex health issues. Living alone after her husband’s death, she was feeling very lonely and socially isolated. She said to me, “I just want to know that someone is on my side.” I was able to provide a list of community resources for her to address her social isolation and help her feel more connected and supported in the community.”

photo of social work student

Ivana leads change in emotional support.

“My client had just returned home from rehabilitation after a three year stay. He was finding the transition to home difficult and socially isolating. I offered a listening ear, and the client was able to express both his triumphs and frustrations with his new life at home. By talking through his challenges and working collaboratively to find solutions, it made him feel more confident in his ability to manage this life transition.”

photo of Julia

Julia leads change in connecting clients to services.

“One day while visiting other clients in a building, I was stopped by a lady after she noticed my Circle of Care lanyard. She explained to me that she was a Holocaust Survivor but had previously been declined any help. I sat down with the client and helped her complete an application for services, which was accepted. She now receives services that have greatly improved her quality of life and allow her to continue living independently at home.”

Photo of Diana

Diana leads change in advocacy.

My client was denied additional government funding for personal support hours, despite his declining health. After ongoing persistence, I secured him additional hours beyond the approved maximum allotment. Now, his wellbeing has been increased, and his wife receives much needed respite.”

image of Alison

Alison leads change in program development.

I have worked with the Subsidy Committee over a number of years to ensure our clients can easily access subsidy funding, and that the funding is used equitably. This means that it will serve those who need it most. Because of this work, we’ve also been able to make the case for crisis prevention funding that can provide time limited services at no cost to the client.

Image of Tessa

Tessa leads change in connecting clients to services.

“My client was hospitalized following a serious fall and his spouse was no longer able to manage his care at home. He was transferred to a Transitional Care Rehab Unit. His wife added many choices for crisis placement at Long Term Care homes, but was not able to secure any, and told that she would have to take her husband home. She said that she could not cope. I connected her with ACE, the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, who were able to advocate on her behalf to the LHIN and secure a bed for her husband.”