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What to expect at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City.

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news item News Monday, March 18, 2019 Monday, March 18, 2019 12:18 PM - Monday, March 18, 2019 12:18 PM

Social workers at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City help patients feel at home

Coming to a hospital when your child has a medical condition can be stressful and can make a family feel vulnerable. Socials workers at Shriners Hospitals for Children can help to lift some of that burden. This can be in the form of offering supportive counseling, connecting families to resources in the community and helping to navigate a difficult conversation with their medical provider.

As members of the care management department, the social workers also help to identify and address barriers to accessing care. They are great advocates for patients and their families and are active participants in the plan of care. Margaret Pedicini, a social worker at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City, says, “We get questions all the time about why we are here and what we do. Many people have never had contact with a social worker before entering the medical setting. We love walking alongside families through their medical journey at Shriners Hospital in Salt Lake City.”

There are three pediatric medical social workers on staff for the support of patients and their families at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City: Margaret Pedicini, Nan Winters and Alyssa Ponce. Typically, these social workers identify families to consult with based on the diagnosis or medical complexity of the child’s condition, as these children tend to have the most need.

Social work plays an important role at the specialty clinics at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City, which are focused on conditions requiring a great deal of attention, such as cerebral palsy, neuromuscular conditions, osteogenesis imperfecta, skeletal dysplasia and Cornelia de Lange syndrome. They have found that some families are connected with community-based resources, and others are not aware of their rights or the services that are available to their children.

Families can request to see a social worker when they are at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City for an appointment in any department. A meeting with a social worker is available if children are getting fitted for an orthotic device, meeting with their physical therapist, meeting with a wheelchair and seating staff member, or are there for an appointment in a clinic or at the inpatient unit.

Some key reasons families might want to contact a social worker while at the hospital are:

  • Financial, emotional and familial stressors related to the medical care of their child
  • Trying to overcome barriers to getting care, including travel and compliance issues
  • Assistance with locating resources, including support groups, counseling and adaptive recreation
  • Preparation for transitioning into adulthood from the Shriners Hospitals for Children system and from the school setting

Margaret has advice to any family new to Shriners Hospitals for Children: “Take a deep breath and relax! This place will feel like home in no time and we hope to be a part of that process.”

The three social workers at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City bring almost 60 years of combined medical social work experience to the job. The patients and their families are in good hands! Social workers are generally available to meet in person Monday – Thursday, 8 a.m.–4 p.m., and every other Friday, but can also be reached by phone and have a confidential voicemail at 801-536-3554.