Lake Regional is celebrating Social Work Month in March with the theme “Social Workers are Essential.” This theme highlights the invaluable contributions social workers make in our society.
“Social workers play an essential role in helping people from all walks of life and backgrounds to live life to the fullest,” said Megan Eidson, MSW, a social worker at Lake Regional. “We are an advocate for patients’ rights and the liaison that makes sure our patients, families and communities have the appropriate resources during a crucial and scary time in their lives.”
Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are currently about 700,000 professional social workers in our nation, but that number is expected to rise to more than 800,000 by 2029.
At Lake Regional, social work services are available for hospital inpatients and outpatients, as well as their family members. Social work services are confidential and offered at no cost to the patient.
“Our social workers help patients and their families with the social, financial, psychological and family problems associated with an illness or subsequent hospitalization or outpatient treatment,” said Kristie Royer, who manages Lake Regional’s Social Work Services department. “They also have primary responsibility for providing and coordinating discharge planning services for patients.”
At Lake Regional, social workers Megan Eidson, MSW; Josie Koontz, MSW; and Meghan O’Rourke, MSW, are part of a multidisciplinary team. They provide access to community referrals, assist with advanced directives, help patients and families cope with psychosocial issues, and coordinate appropriate discharge planning. They also help patients and families adjust to illness, loss and the grieving process. Nichole Stephens, LBSW, and LouAnn Snodgrass, LCSW, serve as the cancer resource navigators at Lake Regional Cancer Center; MaDonna Leinbach, LCSW, is Hospice bereavement social worker; Christy Simmons, BSW, is Home Health and Hospice social worker; and Dana Berhorst, LMSW, is the bereavement coordinator for Lake Regional Hospice.
To become a social worker, individuals must earn a bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree in social work. Licensed clinical social workers also must complete 3,000 hours of supervised work for a minimum of two years under a current licensed clinical social worker and pass the licensure exam.
“During Social Work Month, we hope you will learn more about this amazing profession, say a kind word to the social workers in your life, and advocate for policies and legislation that benefit the profession and the populations they serve,” said Eidson.
Lake Regional Health System provides comprehensive health care services to residents and visitors throughout the mid-Missouri region. The hospital is a Level II Stroke Center, Level II STEMI (heart attack) Center and Level III Trauma Center. Lake Regional also provides a wide range of specialties, including cancer care, heart care, orthopedics and women’s health. Plus, Lake Regional operates primary care clinics, Express Care clinics, rehab therapy clinics, programs for home health and hospice, and retail pharmacies. To learn more, visit lakeregional.com.