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Case Studies

We have collected stories from CHWs in SUHI’s Health and Healing for Life (HHL) and CHWs Assisting Patients Program (CAP) to showcase their important role in the community and the meaningful impact they make in their clients’ lives. 

Perseverance Pays Off

“I was about to give up on a patient, and I was making my last call actually… But I was finally able to reach him! He answered – I introduced myself and gave my spiel. He sounded very disinterested, disconnected from life. He even stated he doesn’t really care about himself or his health, as long as no limbs are falling off. He did agree to receive help with connecting him to a PCP and an HIV test kit, and I helped register him for the COVID-19 vaccine. I told him that every day that we get to wake up and open our eyes is a blessing and that we are here for a reason and left it at that. I called him later in the evening to give him the information for his appointment, HIV test kit, and vaccine. He stated that he thought about what I had said earlier and agreed that we were placed on this earth to make it better somehow, especially for his family. He opened up and talked for a little over 30 minutes. He talked about how he was battling with depression because his wife, best friend, and mom died last year within months of each other, and how they were his support system – and now they’re gone. He stated that he was a chef but isn’t working right now because of COVID-19. We talked about sharing his talents on social media and getting himself back out there while he waits to get called back to work. We also talked about different strategies for dealing with his loss on those hard days, like writing in a journal or going for walks. He thanked me for calling him back and listening to what he had to say, and he was very grateful and requested that I please call him back next week. It made my heart happy to hear the change in his voice the second time we spoke and how engaged he was in our conversation. I really hope he follows through with his care.”

Collaboration - The Key to Care

“A patient with an A1C of 18.4 was referred to the program – I’ve never heard of a patient with an A1C this high in all my 6 years at SUHI! She was already scheduled to receive diabetes education from the diabetes center, but we were able to cover some of the information that was provided to her while an inpatient. Our conversation lasted an hour! She discussed her eating habits and how she felt ‘fine.’ We discussed what foods affect her blood sugar level and the long-term damage of uncontrolled diabetes – even if she feels fine right now. We also discussed the symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes – she didn’t realize that some of the symptoms she was experiencing could be due to high blood sugar levels. She also stated how she drinks at least two gallons of milk a week, and we discussed how this can affect her blood sugar levels and keep them high. So we discussed portion control. The following week, when I followed up with her, she stated that she saw lower blood sugar readings – in the 200s vs. the 400s. I feel like the education I provided helped her understand how the foods she eats affects her sugar readings. I think this was a team effort between Social Work, the Center for Diabetes, and our CSP Program.”

Trust Can Change Lives

“Right now, I’m navigating a patient that, six months ago, discovered she needed to have a follow-up mammogram after her screening mammogram. She said no, she didn’t want to go through with it. When I called her months later, I talked to her. She said, ‘I’m glad you called. I’m having a pain in my breast -- what should I do?’ I told her she should really go to her follow-up mammogram now. Her doctor thinks so too. She was concerned with what I thought because I had helped her so much in getting the first mammogram done in the first place. So my opinion helped her a whole lot, and fortunately we are now in the process of getting her to do the follow-up mammogram. The patients so appreciate that I follow up with them – otherwise they might forget. If no one follows up with them, they don’t think anyone at the hospital cares about them. Me being able to help them through this process -- it eases their fears.”

Health Beyond the Hospital

“The biggest success story I’ve had so far is a patient that I’ve been working with since July of last year who finally got out of a shelter and into her own place. She has diabetes and asthma, and it was difficult for her to maintain her health while in the facility. She checks in often to let me know how she’s doing and recently contacted me to help her find low-cost furniture to furnish her new place.  I was also able to help her get a Section 8 voucher as well as obtain an Illinois ID.” 

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