I began my social work internship with Rush Health and Aging’s Tower Resource Center in 2012. While researching internship opportunities, I was amazed by the new technology, teamwork and innovation that was taking place at Rush; I knew that it was the place for me.
As a Master of Social Work student, I had to identify an area of need within my internship placement organization and develop a project to address that need. I began to wonder where to begin in such a state-of-the-art organization like Rush.
Fortunately, my supervisor Anne Millheiser, a licensed social worker, introduced me to a project that had not been fully developed yet and was in need of “love and care” and creativity to better meet our patients’ needs. The project, which we refer to as rounding, requires regular visits to Rush’s waiting lounges, where I check in with patients, families, visitors and members of the community to raise awareness, educate and inform them about support and resources that are available to them.
Built upon Rush’s “I CARE” values, rounding is vital to delivering person-centered care. Our goal is to seek out individuals – rather than have them find us – to ensure that they have all of the resources that they need including community resources, emotional support and connection to Rush services. One of the keys to our rounding success is that many families are not comfortable being far away from their relatives and traveling to the Resource Centers is a challenge. We often come across visitors who require on the spot supportive counseling due to psychosocial stressors. They oftentimes require assistance with navigating their health care needs.
In just the last quarter we have reached 1,337 visitors through Rounding.
- We have contributed to Rush values by offering emotional support to 579 visitors. We most often come across visitors requiring support around grief, anxiety, and navigating the hospital environment.
- We connected 488 visitors to community supports and Rush services that they were not already connected to.
We have recently incorporated the Professional Building lobby into rounding. During a four month period, we served over 400 individuals waiting in the lobby. Of those individuals:
- More than 70 percent had specific questions about resources available to them pertaining to their healthcare.
- Nearly 80 percent of the individuals required supportive counseling and referrals to our Resource Centers for additional support.
Over the past year Rush Health and Aging’s Resource Centers have reached over 2,700 people throughout the hospital through rounding and we plan to expand in the upcoming year.
I am very happy and proud to be a part of this important program from our patients and visitors. Not only does it enhance their experience here at Rush, but it also give the staff in the Resource Center the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise.