Social workers are the first face of Actionmarguerite. Their role with residents begins even before they become residents. “We are in charge of making the initial contact, giving information, conducting home assessments and giving them their first tour of the facilities”, says Nicole Nadeau-Fréchette, social worker at Actionmarguerite Saint-Boniface. “It’s a key role, because families are entrusting us with their loved ones. We need to gain their trust and establish a connection.”
“People experience a rollercoaster of emotions during this time,” says Lise Cloutier, social worker at Actionmarguerite Saint-Vital. “Sometimes, there are happy reunions of old friends or family members who haven’t seen each other for years. But often, residents would prefer not to have to come to our facility, so they are anxious and their families feel guilty.”
Supporting families, during admission and later on, is indeed a big part of a social worker’s task. Social worker Ginette Abraham works at Actionmarguerite Saint-Boniface in the dementia unit: “A loved one’s dementia is a difficult path for families to walk, so my door is always open. They can come to talk, yell, cry, swear…whatever they need to do. I also hold different support groups.”
Social workers also need to be creative to “find ways to enhance the quality of life of every resident, even if they occasionally go against usual practice,” says Nicole Nadeau-Fréchette. “I serve as a bridge between the cultures of residents and staff. I’m a cultural interpreter!”, adds social worker at Actionmarguerite Saint-Boniface and Saint-Joseph Stéphanie Rouet.
While the social work team plays a vital role, its members insist however that the well-being of the residents depends on the combined efforts of all Actionmarguerite staff.
Photo: Nicole Nadeau-Fréchette (left) and Lise Cloutier. Also part of Actionmarguerite’s social workers’ team are Stéphanie Rouet, Ginette Abraham and Sophie Chartier.