Transitions' Ancillary Services Year in Review
A conversation with Transitions' Director of Ancillary Services - Stephanie Tintner MSW, LCSW, BCPA, CDP
Ancillary Services, also known as supportive services, are truly what set the Transitions Care model apart from other medical providers. “Typically, when someone goes to the doctor, no one is asking patients about how they are doing emotionally, mentally, or spiritually, and no one is asking their loved ones either,” Stephanie expresses. The philosophy at Transitions is to focus on living by empowering patients to embrace every moment of life, regardless of their diagnosis. The Ancillary members of the Transitions care team fulfill this promise by helping to support patients and their loved ones so that they are also balanced mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Through this holistic model, Transitions social workers, chaplains, volunteers, bereavement team, music therapists, and massage therapists all work very hard to ensure comprehensive support is given to everyone who receives our care services.
“We help people understand that the Transitions’ care model is all about LIVING!” Stephanie exclaims. Social workers are experts in providing grief, bereavement, and mental health support to the patient and their family and continue to support the family after the patient’s passing. Chaplains provide the spiritual and emotional support that many patients seek at the end of their lives. Volunteers enrich our patients’ lives by bringing them the things that matter most to them directly to their bedside. Every part of the Ancillary Service team at Transitions continues to go above and beyond to provide emotional support, assistance with resources, education, spending time learning the needs of patients, and walking patients and families through their serious illness journey.
“Some of my favorite highlights from this past year have been watching our team members be some of the first people to receive COVID vaccinations because of their dedication to protecting the patients we serve. Also providing educational events to increase the awareness about issues that our Veteran population faces, renting a mobile gaming truck, throwing a birthday party for one of our patients’ sons, providing home-cooked Thanksgiving meals to patients who don’t have family in the area…honestly, I could go on and on because our teams are consistently doing amazing things!”
To best describe some of the more challenging aspects of the previous year at Transitions, Stephanie proclaims, “I think the theme of this past year has been change. COVID certainly changed the way we provide support, and at times, who we provide support to. We have seen a shift in loved ones needing more support due to visiting restrictions and the increase in stressors that many of us have experienced this last year. Our social work team has been restricted from in-person visits to facilities and even private homes. In response to this challenge, our teams have had to modify how they provide support. Our teams have also seen a big increase in needs due to the pandemic and the stress, social isolation, worry, and a rise in complicated grief this situation has caused for people.”
Despite the shifting demands and challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon the healthcare industry, 2021 has been a rewarding and impactful year for the team at Transitions. “Our teams are addressing these changes by thinking outside of the box and coming up with creative solutions to the challenges patients and their loved ones are facing. Our teams have done an incredible job at continuing to assess the needs of patients and families and adapt their support to fit those ever-changing needs throughout the course of care.”
As a vital part of the Ancillary Services team, Transitions social workers support patients and their families during what can be their most challenging times. Striving to help patients live as comfortably and happily as possible, the social work team at Transitions tailors its care plan to each person individually to address their unique needs. “As a social worker, I can confidently say that many of our team members get their fulfillment and satisfaction from the everyday things they do that help other people. Knowing that we can make a very challenging time in a person’s life a little bit easier, is a huge privilege- one we don’t take lightly,” Stephanie explains.
“Watching the relief on an overwhelmed family member’s face when additional support is put into place, seeing a patient smile because you brought them their favorite cherry pie, recording a terminally-ill mother reading a book for her young child; those are the things that bring our team members joy and fulfillment.”
Another crucial aspect of Ancillary Services at Transitions, the bereavement team, provides a variety of education and support to patients’ loved ones who may be struggling or grieving during the difficult time of passing. “One of the silver linings of the pandemic has been the utilization of online platforms,” Stephanie explains. “We are looking forward to harnessing people’s increased usage of these platforms so that we can provide more personalized support via online support groups in 2022. This type of support group will allow us the opportunity to reach a wide variety of people who may be struggling with grief. Sometimes geography can be an obstacle to someone receiving support services, but the utilization of our online platform will eliminate that and connect people to one another in ways we haven’t done in the past.”
As we shift and move forward into 2022, Stephanie eagerly announces, “It’s a very exciting time to be part of the Transitions team and we are expecting a lot of growth as we come into the new year! Preparing for this continued growth includes ensuring we have the teams in place to provide the support our patients and their loved ones deserve. We are looking at growing our social work teams in an effort to stay ahead of the support needs our patients and their loved ones are facing. We also plan on providing more comprehensive education about end-of-life issues to all of our team members, and look forward to implementing unique programs that enhance the quality of life for our patients and their loved ones.”
Stay tuned to see what the Transitions Ancillary Services team has to offer as the new year progresses. As Stephanie puts it, “We definitely have some very exciting things coming up in 2022!”