Providing compassionate care is at the heart of our mission, and Elizabeth Atkins, MSW, CSW, an SW Ambulatory Care Coordinator with CHI Saint Joseph Health Partners, is a shining example of it in action. She enjoys every aspect of her work, including serving on the Health Partners Post-Acute Committee and the Saint Joseph Foundation Transportation Committee, where she advocates for patients’ needs and reducing barriers to health care access. She also enjoys working with patients, whether she is connecting them with community resources, educational materials and medication assistance or simply checking on their overall well-being.
“Elizabeth makes everyone in the room feel valued, exuding kindness and compassion,” says CHI Saint Joseph Health Partners Market Vice President Dorothy Lockhart. “Throughout her time at CHI Saint Joseph Health Partners, Elizabeth has shown those values to countless individuals. From her teammates to the patients she serves, everyone matters and is a child of God.”
It’s easy to see why Elizabeth was recently given the Saint Joseph Health Corporate Employee of the Year award for 2020. Here are just a few examples of her compassion in action.
- When a patient was physically unable to shop for groceries, she shopped for him, unloaded the groceries and made sure he had a hot meal in front of him before heading home. Working with this patient over the course of several years, she became this patient’s true health care advocate. Even after he was moved to a skilled-nursing facility, she made sure he had the personal items he needed and visited and called him regularly.
- When she encountered a newly homeless man who had been frequenting the Saint Joseph’s Emergency Department, Atkins secured emergency shelter for him and continued working with him to establish a primary care physician and other benefits he was eligible to receive. She also helped him find affordable housing and collected donations of household items for his new apartment. Over time, this patient truly saw Elizabeth’s caring spirit and asked her to help him with his end-of-life planning, as he had no family.
- When a patient with declining memory and no living family was referred to Elizabeth, she made arrangements for caregivers to step in and provide care. When the patient continued to decline, Elizabeth did not just arrange for the patient to live in assisted living; she personally ensured that the patient would be comfortable, visiting her on her own time and even brought her a wreath she made for her new door.
Elizabeth’s compassion extends beyond her patients as well. She constantly looks out for the well-being of her co-workers, checking on them if they are running late, volunteering to make cupcakes for birthdays and other celebrations, and lending a hand wherever needed.
“This compassion is just second nature to Elizabeth,” Dorothy says. “It is who God has called her to be. Elizabeth is a beautiful reminder that each person can make a difference in the lives of others.”
This was in the original, but can we write out “a Social Work ….” ? Assuming that’s what it means?