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Archive for Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lawrence social worker helps patients live their own lives

May 14, 2013

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Felicia Shockey isn't your average social worker.

She has arranged for a patient to ride on a Harley Davidson alongside the Patriot Guard. She helped another fly in a hot-air balloon, checking an item off the top of his bucket list. She lets patients drink alcohol or eat steak — if that's what they want.

It's all part of her mission to assist local people direct their own care. She says it's the best way to keep them happy, healthy and stress-free.

Shockey, the director of social services at Brandon Woods at Alvamar in Lawrence, is the inaugural winner of the Crossroads Hospice Caring More Award, which will be presented at The Oread, 1200 Oread Ave., at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The recognition honors social workers who go above and beyond the call of duty. A $500 prize will be given to her chosen charity, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department's Project Lively, which promotes senior independence.

That's a major goal of Shockey's, in fact: to help as many elderly people as possible remain vibrant, in charge of their own decisions, and, above all, living the lives of their choice, no matter their physical or mental limitations.

Lawrence social worker Felicia Shockey is the inaugural recipient of the Crossroads Hospice Caring More Award. Recently, Shockey provided a training workshop for social workers where she used gloves to demonstrate how nerve loss and arthritis effects seniors' hand mobility and dexterity.

Lawrence social worker Felicia Shockey is the inaugural recipient of the Crossroads Hospice Caring More Award. Recently, Shockey provided a training workshop for social workers where she used gloves to demonstrate how nerve loss and arthritis effects seniors' hand mobility and dexterity.

"A large part of my job is advocating for residents," she said. "Moving from the medical model of health care, which is very stale and static, to resident-directed care, and letting people know they don't have to take their medications, is very different."

Shockey isn't one to tell patients what to do, or to schedule their meals, activities and sleeping patterns. No one wants to live like that in youth and middle age, so why would they as seniors? Plus, the people she treats are especially vulnerable, as they're undergoing the difficult transition from living in a house with family members and belongings to a retirement community with a bunch of strangers.

"I think a huge thing in working with the elderly community is getting to know them as people," said Jeannie Thomas, executive director of Lenexa-based Crossroads Hospice, which gives out the Caring More Award. "A good social worker finds out who each person is and what's important to them, and knows that they're a person, not just a number or someone who fills a bed."

Shockey said she knew she wanted to go into social work after living in Germany, where her husband was serving in the military, and seeing the joy Afghan refugees had even in the most difficult of circumstances. She also discovered that she was able to communicate with people of different cultures and tongues simply by showing them she was there to help.

And she isn't just giving at work: The 32-year-old mother of two is a foster parent for homeless animals from the Lawrence Humane Society, and acts as a guardian for local elderly and disabled residents with no one left to speak for them.

Comments

ssteve1 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes, it's true. She does every bit of this. But, just wait until she takes off those gloves.

CalitoNY 1 year, 7 months ago

Miss Felicia you are a remarkable woman and I hope you will continue your plight to help the elderly!! It appears you understand the value these seniors possess and I can't say enough about your desire to make a little bit of happiness appear once again for these lovely people! Thank you.....I know you sleep well at night just knowing you are a loving and giving person. Congratulations for an honor well deserved!!! Wish others in Lawrence would feel your same love to our seniors......thank you.

ugottabekiddin 1 year, 7 months ago

An outside organization, Crossroads Hospice, has recognized Ms Shockey with this award.
Nothing like giving someone an award with news coverage and a blowout banquet at the Oread to drum up business!!I

Elizabeth Halsey 1 year, 7 months ago

Ugh. Nothing like nasty comments to take the focus away from something positive.

Bailee Winetroub 1 year, 7 months ago

I love reading articles about Lawrence's gems. Kindness, compassion, keep it coming Lawrence! :) Congratulations Ms. Shockey, thank you for all you do.

Karrey Britt 1 year, 7 months ago

Thanks Felicia Shockey for all you do in the community and for elderly residents! The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department appreciates your work and the Project LIVELY care managers are thrilled to receive a donation for the program on your behalf!

Leslie Swearingen 1 year, 7 months ago

"A large part of my job is advocating for residents," she said. "Moving from the medical model of health care, which is very stale and static, to resident-directed care, and letting people know they don't have to take their medications, is very different."

This sounds like a dangerous policy to me.

hedshrinker 1 year, 7 months ago

I support patient directed self-determination, especially for those who have had much control taken from them b/c of illness and group living. Having said that many care protocols are in place for good reasons (safety, improved cognition,disease management , etc); a collaborative approach between providers and clients, clarifying priorities, treatment side effects/costs can work best. I'm sure the "they don't have to take their meds" statement was a little more complex and nuanced (if not, that's a problem). Sounds like she has lots of enthusiasm and energy. I liken this approach to my experience with caring for dying patients in the bad old days when docs were overly concerned with addiction potential to pain rx: what difference does it make when someone is dying? Comfort is much more important.

purplesage 1 year, 7 months ago

Agreed, ugottabekiddin. Where do you think those referrals come from?

playback 1 year, 7 months ago

@ seventeen: It may seem like a nasty comment, but it has some validity in it. OIG guidelines (guidelines to prohibit kickbacks, self-referrals and fraud) are out there in order to keep everyone on the up & up. Do you not think that providing money towards a charity, albeit a great charity, doesn't place any type of influence on a social worker to provide that hospice with referrals?

Not to mention, probably one of the biggest facilities in Lawrence who has the capability of providing several referrals a day. I see Brandon Woods as a fit organization that is creditable and trustworthy and hopefully wouldn't be swayed by a "kind gesture" like this, but wouldn't you favor someone who was not only providing you with a charitable donation, but also providing you publicity. Hmmmmm, I don’t know!!! @ Purplesage: I agree.

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