Meet an InnovAge Social Worker

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Meet an InnovAge Social Worker

July 29, 2019
Social workers play a critical role in the care provided by InnovAge PACE and are a required part of the PACE care team. Meet Justin Collins, an InnovAge social worker, and learn more about our social workers’ efforts to support participants and caregivers in their PACE journey.
 
What is social work?
According to the National Association of Social Work, the primary mission of the profession is to “enhance human well-being and help meet basic and complex needs of all people, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty.” How does that translate to the services InnovAge social workers provide to seniors enrolled in PACE?
 
Social workers are part of the PACE care team of doctors, dentists, physical therapists, home health aides, and dietitians. Together, they ensure every aspect of a PACE participant’s care is covered. “It’s constant communication and coordination,” Justin says.
 
Much of what InnovAge’s social workers do is case management – keeping things organized for the participant and their caregiver and acting as the primary liaison between the participant and other organizations and facilities. “We’re involved in pretty much every facet of our participants’ lives,” says Justin.
 
A key component of the role is administering depression screenings and cognition testing twice yearly. It also includes looking after a participants’ emotional well-being, ensuring they have a safe and secure living situation, and coordinating with caregivers if their loved one needs to be moved to a facility that can provide more care.
 
Having an impact
“It’s rewarding to support our participants who have never really had access to much of anything. For some, our PACE physician is the first regular physician they have ever had. Many of our seniors have been profoundly at-risk for much of their lives,” explains Justin.
 
Justin offers a more specific example: “For someone who struggles with access to food, we can feed them breakfast and lunch, send them home with a snack, and work to find community resources as a long term solution.”
 
How is working at InnovAge different?
Regulations require each PACE center has a social worker and all of them must have their master’s degrees in social work. Additionally, “PACE provides us immense resources we simply don’t have in the community. There are a ton of resources social workers can quickly access at InnovAge that are harder to get in other healthcare environments,” Justin explains.
 
InnovAge employees, like Justin, are passionate about the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and contribute to the organization being a certified Great Place to Work. Learn more about InnovAge’s values and explore open positions to see if InnovAge may be a good fit for you and your career.
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