Social worker, Loralee Smith ‘provides patients with more holistic care’ at Middleton Collaborative Practice
When a patient’s health is affected by serious social problems including unsafe housing, family violence and discrimination, the Middleton Collaborative Practice team look to their social worker, Loralee Smith for support.
Smith acquired a Bachelor of Social Work from Saint Thomas University in 2010 and joined the Middleton Collaborative Practice in January 2019. She also works with the Kingston Family Health and Greenwood Family Health teams.
Smith’s days are filled with important patient conversations about finding specific community services, dealing with grief, depression and anxiety, coping with complex health and family problems, and connecting patients with specialty services such as child and youth mental health.
Smith is known to be relentless with helping patients solve problems such as safe transportation to appointments after a stroke when you are alone and can no longer drive; or respectful support and harm reduction when you are dealing with an alcohol problem and are not quite ready for addiction services.
In addition to individual patient appointments, Smith is one of the facilitators of the Postpartum Wellness Group for new parents who have anxiety and depression after childbirth.
During the initial weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith partnered with seniors safety staff and volunteers to provide support and safety baskets to local seniors who were isolated at home.
“I love the variety and diversity of my job,” said Smith. “It is meaningful to be able to support patients during difficult times and help them overcome the obstacles in their lives.”
With the opening of the new primary care facility at Soldiers Memorial Hospital, Smith is most looking forward to “new space to meet comfortably and privately with individuals and families” and a safe welcoming environment that is accessible.
She also looks forward to mentoring social work students in 2021.
When asked about the difference Smith has made for the Middleton Collaborative Practice patients and families, family physician Dr. Sarah Surette said, “Having [Smith] join our team has enabled us to provide our patients with more holistic care - to better support them through difficult times, connect them to community supports and financial programs, and to help them develop skills to improve their overall health and wellbeing. She's been such an asset and we greatly appreciate having her collaborate with us.”
In thinking about a primary health care team, you may not immediately consider social workers like Smith, however the Middleton Collaborative Practice patients, physicians and staff wouldn’t be without her.