Hospice is a philosophy of care that treats the person rather than the disease, and focuses on maintaining quality of life. Social workers go beyond tending to a patient’s physical symptoms, and are committed to addressing emotional and spiritual needs as part of the care team. Val Criswell, a ten-year veteran of Crossroads Hospice and the Director of Kansas City’s Emotional Spiritual Team, is an expert in serving patients through this holistic approach with the support of her dedicated team of social workers and chaplains.
Volunteering is good for everyone! Did you know volunteers live longer and have lower rates of depression? According to The Corporation for National and Community Service it’s true. And it’s not only good for volunteers, it’s good for our patients too through companionship and engaging in activities.
Throughout the week of April 7-11th, Crossroads will be holding Happiness Hours events to recognize its amazing volunteers; and connect with other community members interested in joining our volunteer program. Happiness Hours will feature refreshments and giveaways. All are welcome!
The “Caring More” Award is presented to outstanding social workers who go above and beyond to improve lives through their work with patients and in the community. The award includes a $500 prize to the non-profit of the recipient’s choice, and a breakfast in their honor with invited colleagues, family, friends, and a distinguished panel of judges during National Social Work Month in March.
Like many couples, Yvonne and Charles wake up each morning and have breakfast together. But Yvonne is making sure Charles eats enough and doesn’t mix his cereal and coffee. Throughout the day she gives him the medicine he’s been prescribed to delay the development of his dementia, putting each pill in his mouth to make sure it’s taken. On the days when social workers from Crossroads Hospice visit, she runs errands while they stay with him. When she returns, Yvonne helps him eat again, and keeps up the conversation, though his responses are often very difficult to understand.
She asks Charles, her husband of nearly 60 years, if he remembers her.
“I really wish I could be more involved than I am,” says Cleveland volunteer Tom Mathews. Tom began volunteering with Crossroads Hospice after retiring. “I don’t have to work anymore, so I can choose what I want to do,” he says fondly.
When asked to describe their role, many social workers will note the range of “hats” they wear to best serve patients and families. From identifying emotional and spiritual needs to supporting families as they navigate the Medicare system, the complexity of end-of-life care requires the skills of an expert educator, advocate, mediator and more.