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Integration and collaboration between nursing and social worker makes a difference

Paradigm Health licensed social worker Kelli Bennett began studying nursing in college but soon found that she was more interested in the psychosocial aspects of health care as a career path.  

“I began my career in the acute care setting and worked as a hospital case manager and discharge planner for many years,” shares Bennett. “For many years, I made hospice care referrals but never fully realized the positive impact social workers made as end-of-life approaches for patients and families.” 

When Bennett’s own mother was admitted to hospice and ultimately passed away, she knew that hospice social work was a calling for her. In 2014 she began her career in hospice social work.  

“I began working with the Paradigm Health hospice care team in 2021,” Bennett says. “The culture at Paradigm Health is one that I had never experienced before. The social work team is so strong, and I benefit every day from the leadership and collaboration my teammates provide.” 

At the heart of Paradigm Health’s mission is to be the employer of choice which directly translates into being the provider of choice for hospice patients and families. “Paradigm cares for the staff so that we can provide optimal care for our patients,” says Bennett. “I truly feel appreciated and the team I work with makes me want to give 100 percent every day.” 

Bennett believes that social work involvement in hospice and palliative care serves to enhance the experience of the patient and family by focusing on more than just their disease or end-of-life journey.  

“We provide end-of-life education and emotional support but also help our patients reflect on what their life has meant, their best and worst experiences, and their achievements and regrets,” shares Bennett. “This process helps to enable them to move toward death with peace of mind. Helping people resolve barriers to a peaceful death is a privilege that I am thankful for every day.” 

The collaboration between nursing and social work provides optimal care and we work hand in hand to make the experience the best it can be.  

“Life review is my favorite part of the therapeutic process,” says Bennett. “We rely on the medical guidance the nurses provide, and the nursing staff in turn utilizes our experience in the factors impacting comfort, including emotional, psychological, spiritual, family, and community relationships.” 

Paradigm Health hospice patients benefit from the integration and collaboration of nursing, spiritual care, music therapy, volunteers, and social workers to meet our patients where they are and tailor a plan of care to the individual, their strengths, and their needs. 

“As a social worker and member of Paradigm Health’s hospice care team, it is an incredible privilege to be allowed into the last chapter of a person’s life,” Bennett says. “It is an intimate setting and to be allowed to walk that walk with people is so meaningful. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”