Featured Friday: Meet Kim T.

Kim has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and over 25 years of social work experience. She has spent the last 10 years working with Active Duty Navy personnel, Veterans and their families. As an Adult and Elder Care Specialist, she assists members with issues they are experiencing with elderly loved ones in their lives. Kim resides in Stratford, CT and is the proud parent of two adult children and one fuzzy rescue dog.

Q: When a member calls, what is the first thing you ask?
A: I always thank them for reaching out to us and ask that they tell me the reason for their call. Members don’t always understand what we do at LifeCare and can be unsure how we might be able to help them, so I often ask them to explain what concerns they have with their aging loved one. Once I get a sense of what they are dealing with, I can structure my questions to get a clearer picture of how I can help them.

Q: How do you approach each call?
A: I believe the most important thing to do at the start of each call is to listen. I feel I need to not only listen closely to what they are saying, but sometimes also listen to what they are hesitant to say. It can be difficult for a member to share their concerns, fears or uncertainty about what is going on with their loved one. Listening can ensure I get to the core of their issue, helps the member feel understood and creates confidence in the work we can do for them.

Q: What is your goal for each case?
A: At the end of each call I want members to feel like they are not alone in the struggles they are having with their aging loved one and also to understand how I and LifeCare can support them in what they are going though. I will always review the plan we have discussed, review the timeline for getting back to them with their referrals and let them know that I and the rest of the LifeCare team will remain available to them.

Q: What are some memorable cases you’ve worked on?
A: The most memorable cases are the one where I have repeated contact with a member. In addition to letting members know LifeCare is available 24/7, I always provide my direct office phone number as well. Because members often share very sensitive, upsetting details of their lives, I want them to feel comfortable contacting me directly if more services are needed rather than feeling they have to share these intimate details all over again. Members will often contact me if more research is needed, but sometimes they call just to provide me with an update on how their loved one is doing. These calls are always rewarding because it demonstrates that a rapport has been established and the member knows they have a direct link to someone at LifeCare who know their situation and who cares.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of the job is the privilege of helping our members through some very difficult times. I always feel honored that they trust me enough to share their family situation and express what they are feeling. Being able to help them though these difficult times is very rewarding.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: The best part of this job can also be the hardest part of this job. We listen to many very difficult cases. Hearing a member cry on the phone because they don’t know how to help their parents can take an emotional toll. It’s sometimes important to turn to LifeCare’s support system (i.e. managers and team leads) to help process these difficult cases.

Q: How do you connect with the members you help?
A: I feel invested in every call I take. I think listening and empathizing helps develop a strong rapport. Then following through and providing useful information helps members understand that we truly care and can help them.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t know if LifeCare can help them?
A: I would advise that they take the chance and just call. With the vast majority of our calls, we can provide some assistance. It may be research for referrals they need, it may be some guidance or it may be just a listening ear. I know from the feedback I hear from members that they are always glad they called and feel less isolated than they did prior to calling.

Q: In your opinion, what makes your role/team so special?
A: On the Adult and Elder Care team we all have a passion for the work we do. We support one another, which is so needed when dealing with the volume of sensitive cases we have. In addition, our team puts on great pot luck lunches!

 

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