As National Social Work Month in March draws to a close, we want to spotlight our many talented social work counselors caring for our Suncoast Hospice patients and families.
Counseling, Education and Support
Deangelis Brandon-Hendriex, cPhD is a licensed social work counselor at Suncoast Hospice for more than 21 years. She meets with patients and families living in long-term care facilities and provides support and comfort around their situations and hospice care.
“A lot of people are fearful when they hear the “h” word. We will talk about what the doctor has told them and what this is really going to be like. You have to break it down at every level so each person walks away with clarity,” Brandon-Hendriex explained.
Her counseling may include discussions about their illnesses, emotions and concerns, sharing information and resources about health conditions, hospice services and support groups, as well as doing journaling, life reviews and living will medical decision making. She also helps run bereavement support groups for grieving loved ones.
It is her passion and pleasure to serve in this mission.
“I feel so privileged. Hospice is a special calling. You gotta have a heart and be present and attentive for each patient and family. We find out what’s going to make patients and families happy and do what we’ve got to do as a team. We give compassion, love and understanding. We lighten the load and give needed support,” she shared.
Interdisciplinary Care Team
She finds the teamwork rewarding. They participate in team meetings, go on joint visits at times and call on each other to meet the wishes and needs of patients and families.
Brandon-Hendriex noted, “There’s a whole team to help with spiritual pain, emotional pain and pain management concerns. We can incorporate our nurses to reconcile medications or provide crisis care pain management, our spiritual care coordinator to bring peace or our music therapist to sing. Our music therapist is a gift.”
Many other team members and volunteers also help provide comfort.
“Our aides give personal care for patients, helping comb their hair and freshen them up. Maintenance staff might adjust air units at the bedsides. Teen volunteers can help put songs and pictures together in videos, which are great gifts for families. Other volunteers might provide aromatherapy or sit with patients, hold their hands or read to them during their final hours of life so they are not alone. There are some amazing volunteers,” she added.
The team further helps support one another.
She shared, “I like that we do team supports, where we have breakfast or donuts and we get a little bit of time to be with each other. We check in with each other. I think that makes a world of difference.”
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