Quebec celebrates Social Workers March 24 to 30

Restoring Hope: The power of social work
 
When Suzanne Raymond’s father was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s and cancer, her entire family was in shock. McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) social worker Tania Teolis became invaluable in helping them cope, understand and accept the realities and limitations of his condition.
 
“Tania spent a lot of time getting to know dad and his limits, to gain his confidence,” recalls Suzanne. “She really helped my father and my family come to grips with the fact that he would not be going back home.” Teolis helped them find the information and resources they needed as they continued on their journey with their ill father, always available to answer their questions and concerns. 
 
At the MUHC, our social workers are committed to the well-being of our patients and their families. Their role is to assess the patient’s psychosocial needs and then to help establish goals. They work with the family, the multidisciplinary team and community partners to mobilize resources to assist the patient in achieving those goals.
 
The theme of this year’s social work week is Hope, which Barbara Himsl, manager of Social Services (adult sites) points out, is particularly apt: “Hope is a primary underpinning of social work in general and specifically in social work in the hospital setting. It is through hope that those stricken with serious illness or injury find within themselves the seeds of recovery or the ability to adapt to loss. It is in hope that the spouses, parents, children and friends of those suffering illness or injury continue to provide the love and support vital to another's well-being.”
 
Sarah Laouina’s parents understand the power of hope. Their daughter was born with a spina bifida malformation and suffered associated respiratory problems. As a toddler, Sarah spent two years at The Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH), where she had a tracheostomy. Sarah’s father recalls a particularly difficult day when a code pink was called for their daughter, and a social worker stayed by their side, helping them get through this emotional day.
 
“We were very lucky to have such a good team caring for us,” says Sarah’s father. Sarah is now six years old and has been living at home for the past 15 months, with a mechanical ventilator and wheelchair. And thanks to Rosanna D’Orazio, coordinator of Social Services at the MCH, and social worker Melanie Caron, the family will soon have an adapted vehicle so they can travel together. 
 
A big thank you goes out to our 68 social workers at the MUHC adult sites and 22 at The Children’s for the important work they do and the hope they inspire every day in working with patients and families across the MUHC.