This week we celebrate Social Work Week, an opportunity to acknowledge the challenging yet rewarding role that our social workers play in connecting our clients to resources and advocating for services on their behalf. This year’s theme is Turning Issues into Answers – below, our social workers give us a tiny peek into the wide variety of cases they undertake, and how they help to turn issues into answers.

I help turn mental health issues into answers.

My client suffered from clinical depression and anxiety and had a substance abuse issue. She felt lonely, isolated and lost. I helped my client access Meals on Wheels, financial assistance with rent, assistance with homemaking, and transportation. I also connected her with our social group and a friendly visiting volunteer. She knows she can always turn to me if she needs additional help.

I help turn life crisis issues into answers.

After my client’s husband passed away, I provided counselling to her and connected her with our Bereavement Support Group. When she joined our monthly Caring Café drop-in, she was pleased to see familiar faces and continued to feel supported. These services helped her transition through this difficult time.

I help turn advocacy issues into answers.

My client was in the process of applying for Holocaust Survivor Services when her husband passed away. Not long after, she suffered a fall, and ended up in rehab. While she was in the hospital, I worked on her application and also coordinated with her LHIN worker to make sure that she had support when she returned home. Fortunately, everything fell into place, she returned home with support, and I was also able to help her apply for financial subsidies.

I help turn domestic abuse issues into answers.

My client was experiencing abuse and felt isolated. I connected her with temporary housing, storage resources, supportive counselling, and victims’ services to assist with legal help. I also made sure that she could contact me easily. I felt fortunate to help her through a challenging time in her life.

I help turn loneliness issues into answers.

My client lives with her daughter-in-law, who works most of the day, so she often feels lonely. When I visited her, we connected and spoke about Russian literature that we both read and loved. I call her every so often to see how she is doing and to discuss a new book with her. She is very grateful to find somebody who can share her love of literature and I am happy to support her in that way.

I help turn healthcare issues into answers.

When I met my client, he had just transitioned home after a stay in a rehab centre after a fall. After referring him to home-based primary care and an outpatient rehab program, I was able to support his spouse and adult children by connecting them to various caregiver supports.

I help turn advocacy issues into answers.

I advocated for my client, who lives alone, and he now receives Meals on Wheels, daily PSW services, nursing every two weeks and has been connected with a home visiting family doctor. He also needed assistance managing his finances, so I put that into motion as well.

I help turn elder abuse issues into answers.

My client was having an extremely hard time coping with her adult son who was living with her and taking advantage of her good will. Together we were able to come up with a plan that completely turned their relationship around.

I help turn decision-making issues into answers.

I received a distressed call one day from the wife of a client at our Adult Day Program. She received a long-term care bed offer for her husband and didn’t know what to do. By simply giving her an ear to talk to during this difficult time, she was able to come to a decision on her own that was best for her husband at the time.

I help turn housing issues into answers.

My client lived in an apartment with a kitchen that was too small to fit his wheelchair. I was able to successfully get a unit transfer for him on the basis of accessibility priority needs. My client now lives in an apartment with an open concept kitchen, new appliances, and in an area where he has more informal supports than previously. I’m proud to have advocated on his behalf and to have changed his quality of life.

I help turn resource issues into answers.

My client called me one day and told me he had been alone for several days and couldn’t go buy food. I made an emergency referral for Meals on Wheels and brought him food that same day. After that, I was able to set him up with PSW services and regular meal delivery so that he now has the opportunity and ability to stay in his own home.

I help turn trust issues into answers.

My client was very hard of hearing and talking to her over the phone was a challenge. I accompanied her to an appointment with her family doctor who was able to address her hearing issues. Since then, my client’s hearing has significantly improved. Her trust in our services has grown and she feels that she can depend on Circle of Care to proactively meet her needs.

I help turn independence issues into answers.

My client’s spouse recently passed away and he moved into a smaller apartment. I spoke with him about receiving help, while giving him the ability to maintain his independence. He’s been very receptive. I arranged for him to first receive PSW visits and Lifeline, and now Meals on Wheels as well as medical escorts for his appointments. The services have slowly been increasing and have greatly helped him live independently at home.

I help turn basic needs issues into answers.

I received an urgent referral for a client who did not have any food. Fortunately I was able to access two weeks worth of food from our Meals on Wheels program, as well as a grocery gift card and winter clothing from one of our partners. I helped her apply for financial assistance. She is now successfully managing daily with all her basic needs!

I help turn financial issues into answers.

I was assisting a client with her application to our Holocaust Survivor Program through the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany. I spent an afternoon with my client researching, mapping, and transcribing her wartime experience in great detail. Based on this information, she was eligible for a pension from her homeland, which she is now receiving. This has helped her provide for her daily needs and bill payments.

I help turn isolation issues into answers.

English is not my client’s first language, which can make it difficult to successfully connect with her over the phone. So I visited her, using our telephone translation service MCIS. She was so grateful and said no one had ever visited her in her home. I’m proud to advocate for her needs and help her obtain services that she previously could not access because of her language barrier.

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