A Social Worker You Should Know
"One agency or organization doesn't have all the answers, Katie," she said with wisdom in her voice during our interview.
"That's why we have to work together," I answered. I knew she was busy, but I was grateful that Diane Williams, LMSW-AP, was giving me her time and advice.
Williams has been a social worker at DeTar Healthcare System for 20 years, and she has been the director of social services at DeTar for the past 10 years. She spends her days directing social workers and also helps patients herself.
"It takes a lot of patience and listening skills," Williams shared with me. She said the most rewarding part of her job is helping people when they go through hard times.
Once, she had a patient who was in his 50s who was at DeTar because he had suffered from a major stroke. He had been the sole breadwinner in his family and now, with complex medical needs, was about to lose his medical insurance coverage.
This is where Williams stepped in to go to work. Williams educated this patient and his spouse on the COBRA insurance plan and how to insure this was in place. Williams researched alternative ways to make sure they could afford his medical prescriptions through different programs for prescription help. The patient's wife was overwhelmed and devastated because she would not be able to work since her husband would need her for full-time care.
Williams assisted this patient in applying and receiving disability payments. She also provided support to him and his wife as they learned to cope with the loss of his independence and income, and she helped to coordinate therapy for the patient. Williams also helped this couple to know what is available in our area regarding caregiver support.
Take it from me - as a social worker, things rarely go smoothly, so it is a blessing when there is positive results from our work. One month after this man was discharged, Williams received a call from this couple thanking her for her support and letting her know that their needs were being met as a result.
Two months after he was discharged, this man and his wife came by to see Williams. She was so happy to see they seemed more adjusted to their new situation, and physically, the man had greatly improved.
Coordinating physical therapy rehabilitation, helping with discharge planning, making sure medication needs are met and helping with depressed patients may not sound like a sexy job to you.
Williams works diligently with real people tackling core problems every day. In stressful times of illness or loss of independence, the importance of having a person like Williams come alongside a patient and their family is crucial to their ability to cope.
Connecting resources to people's needs provides an opportunity for healing and wholeness. We are grateful we have Williams working for our health community.
Katie Sciba is a writer, a licensed social worker, a pastor's wife and a mother from Victoria. She works for AARN Health Services and blogs online at Always Simply Begin.