Providence Healthcare Foundation
Providence Healthcare Foundation

Tracy Stober, Social Worker in Providence Healthcare's Bariatric Assessment Centre

Social workers’ role in supporting patients during COVID-19

Feb 26, 2021

Tracy Stober is a Social Worker in Providence Healthcare's Bariatric Assessment Centre. She's been on the frontlines working relentlessly to provide care and keep our patients safe during the global pandemic.

We caught up with Tracy during Social Work Week to ask her how her role has been impacted by COVID-19. She says, "Throughout the pandemic, we have had to make a lot of adjustments to help keep patients, families, and staff safe. Despite the restrictions, my role as a social worker in the bariatric clinic has been modified to ensure we can provide the safest and best support to our patients. We have moved most of our appointments to virtual/online support (telemedicine) where we can complete psychosocial assessments, counseling, and follow-ups to our patients via Zoom, OTN, or over the phone. This ensures that we can continue to support our patients as best as we can."

Tracy and her colleagues work tirelessly to keep our patients safe and well supported.

"As difficult as it may be not to be in the same room as all of the patients, it has allowed them to feel safer knowing they do not have to come into the hospital while working on their mental health. We show up to work every day to ensure that our patients can receive optimal care, no matter what. Sessions using telemedicine has its challenges, as you may not be able to capture social cues that you would during an in-person session, but we are doing the best that we can to help everyone during this difficult time," Tracy says.

Our team of social workers at Providence remain committed to meet the needs of all of our patients.

"We understand that the pandemic, the lockdowns, and the restrictions are causing great stress on people’s mental health and thus anxiety, and stress is high. We know that everyone has dealt with some form of loss during this difficult time. We are guided by the mission and values of Unity Health and continue to provide empathy, support, and compassion to our patients. We are available by phone, email, and online if they require further support, as well as in-person sessions if need be."

Tracy understands how difficult the past year has been on everyone - patients, residents, staff, their families, and the community. She says, "I believe that it’s critically important to focus on our patients’ experience with COVID-19 and how they’re coping with it. It’s important to understand how we can help our bariatric patients deal with the virus and the stress related to it within the context of their significant upcoming procedure. Nothing about the pandemic is easy and a lot seems out of our control. It is important to help our patients understand their emotions and work through them.”

“It might be stormy now, but the rain won’t last forever.”
- Author unknown

Thank you to our social workers, like Tracy, for going above and beyond during this difficult time to ensure that our patients receive the care they need.

Strength is. Our staff.
Strength is. Our community.
Strength is. Providence.