St. Luke’s Hospital honors National Social Work Month

Published 11:28 am Monday, March 21, 2011

St. Luke’s Hospital’s social work team: Stephen Cefalu, Jean High, Deena Dimsdale and Janet Hoover. (photo submitted)

March is National Social Work Month, a time to celebrate the more than 600,000 social workers nationwide. St. Luke’s Hospital, along with the National Association of Social Workers, proudly celebrates National Social Work Month 2011.

This year’s theme, “Social Workers Change Futures,” highlights the many ways social workers help in all communities. Social workers are purpose-driven, compassionate individuals who work across a range of areas to help those who are most vulnerable. Social workers provide assistance in hospitals, help children in schools, provide treatment at mental health clinics and play many different roles in society.

Social workers are skilled professionals who use their talents to help others create better lives for themselves and their families. Some social workers help clients who face a disability or a life-threatening disease or a social problem. Some assist families that have domestic conflicts involving children or spousal abuse. Other social workers conduct research, advocate for improved services or are involved in policy development.

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At St. Luke’s Hospital, the team of social workers assist patients and their families to find placement for a loved on in a nursing facility. They can help arrange for nursing care or equipment needed at home after discharge. They provide resources and support for patients and families. This is just a touch of what they do.

The social work department at St. Luke’s is made up of five individuals:

Stephen Cefalu, MSW, LCSW, has worked at St. Luke’s Hospital for a year. As the social worker for the Center of Behavioral Medicine, Cefalu is responsible for daily patient evaluations, memory testing, gathering the psychosocial information from patients and families that can aid in treatment, counseling and education for patients and families.

Deena Dimsdale and Jean High are the discharge planners at St. Luke’s. They make sure everything needed at discharge is prepared and ready including equipment needed at home, rehab services or nursing home placement. Dimsdale also serves as a crisis worker for mental health.

Janet Hoover, RN, is the social work department’s case manager. With 36 years nursing experience, Hoover has worked at St. Luke’s Hospital for 21 years.

As the department director, Crystal Honeycutt says they have several goals including to obtain patient discharge plans as soon as possible, to keep the patient and family updated about their discharge plan, maintain patients in the correct level of care, control costs without compromising patient care, be supportive to hospital staff and physicians and provide social support as needed.

Strengthening people and providing support are priorities of the social work profession. Wherever there is a problem with an individual or family, social workers look for the inherent strengths that can be used as a starting point for further growth.

“Social workers are a critical asset to St. Luke’s Hospital,” says Cefalu. “Social workers work with people facing difficult situations and help them overcome barriers.”