Suncoast Hospice of Hillsborough Social Worker Lauren Baer

Welcome to Extraordinary Stories of Empath Health. In this space we highlight our fantastic colleagues and the extraordinary work they do to make Empath Health’s Full Life Care a daily reality for the patients and families we serve. Join us as we demonstrate the ways in which our colleagues exemplify Empath’s core values: Eternally Hopeful, Profoundly Helpful, Lovingly Truthful, Confidently Skillful and Courageously Impactful.

Hospice care is so much more than providing comfort at the end of life. The way the Suncoast Hospice of Hillsborough team served a patient and family showed how quality of life and peace of mind are at the heart of the hospice philosophy.

The patient, who is blind and doesn’t hear well, was admitted to Suncoast Hospice of Hillsborough in September 2022. She suffered several losses in her life, enduring the death of two husbands and a daughter. But she retained a close bond with another daughter and granddaughter.

Unfortunately, the patient’s anxiety made it impossible for her to travel, a fact that was especially distressing when her beloved granddaughter moved to a facility in Bradenton after suffering complications from a knee surgery.

The patient longed to see her granddaughter, constantly asking about her. That’s when Social Worker Lauren Baer and the Suncoast Hospice of Hillsborough team took action. Lauren recognized how much anguish the patient was feeling around the uncertainty of her granddaughter’s well-being.

After conferring with the patient’s registered nurse, Natasha Nelson, Lauren got in touch with Executive Director Alicia Cato and Chief Hospice Officer Kerry Hoerner, who agreed that the Quality of Life fund through the Suncoast Hospice Foundation should be employed to arrange transportation for the granddaughter to visit the patient.

Lauren worked with the family to determine the best date and time for the visit. The team set up transportation and coordinated details with the granddaughter’s facility. The patient got to see her granddaughter after a long separation, the family coming together for their annual Christmas baking day.

“Since this visit,” Lauren said, “the patient has been in such a state of peace.”

Lauren tuned into what mattered most for the patient. She and the Suncoast Hospice of Hillsborough team were Profoundly Helpful.

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