Seeing Value, Busy Professionals Voluntarily Add to Their Efforts

Key Takeaways

  • Social workers are finding so much value in using Atlas CareMaps with their clients, that they are voluntarily adding this tool to their already overloaded schedules.
  • Excitement and interest about CareMaps has spread organically within the professional health and social services community in Santa Barbara County.
  • Grant making organizations, moved by the on-the-ground impact they have seen, are requiring grantees to incorporate CareMaps into their work.

This is the fourth in a series of five blog posts on the 2017 Mapping Santa Barbara project. The first post gave an overview of the project and key findings, the second looked at the transformational impact experienced by the Promotores, and the third examined the discoveries of those involved in Mapping Yourself. The final post describes how the community continues to innovate to expand on its success. You can download the full Mapping Santa Barbara final report.

 

Professionals who support family caregivers, such as social workers, often feel stretched for time, having too much material that they are obliged to go through and so unable to provide the personal touch the caregivers need. So, it is notable that professionals in Santa Barbara have been voluntarily adding Atlas CareMaps to their to-do lists. Seeing the impact, institutions and grant making organizations are beginning to require the use of CareMaps and to experiment with the best ways to do so.

Two local organizations collaborating in Mapping Santa Barbara — Family Service Agency (FSA), and Marian Regional Medical Center — have professional social workers. Four social workers from FSA and three from Marian participated in a CareMap Workshop, and then attended a train-the-trainer session. (An Atlas CareMap, simply described is a diagram of a family’s care ecosystem, showing who is caring for whom and how. CareMaps can be drawn by hand or by computer.)

All have experimented with when and how to include CareMaps in their sessions with clients (family caregivers). Given time constraints this isn’t always possible, but FSA reports using CareMaps with about 40% of clients, and Marian reports using it with most Spanish-speaking clients (where they have more time). Marian social workers have also taught CareMap Workshops themselves, and have added the material to other courses they are teaching. These social workers say that drawing a CareMap with the client helps the social worker better understand the family, helps the client better understand his/her own situation, and makes the client more receptive to available services and other offers of help. All report that there is so much more they could and would like to do, that they are “at the beginning.”

Social workers and other health professionals from many other organizations in the Santa Barbara region have also attended CareMap Workshops organized by FSA or Marian. Two social workers from the Lompoc Valley Medical Center (LVMC) also attended the train-the-trainer session. LVMC has since promoted CareMaps to its community, as part of its Caring Together Lompoc campaign. Other local organizations, including the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health, and local medical institutions Sansum Clinic and Cottage Health, have begun to explore how they can bring CareMaps into their own systems.

Two major, local grant making organizations, the Santa Barbara Foundation and the Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens (which is the Area Agency on Aging for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties), have decided to require grantees to include CareMaps in their family- or caregiver-focused efforts. The members of these organizations came to this decision based on their own personal experiences (having achieved a better awareness of their own lives from attending CareMap Workshops) and seeing the enthusiasm and impact of the FSA, Marian, and Lompoc professionals.

“The CareMap is a gift to caregivers.” joyce ellen lippman, executive director, Central Coast Commision for Senior Citizens.

The Central Coast Commission’s executive director, joyce ellen lippman, notes that this is the first time her organization has imposed such a requirement. She said her board felt this was important to do, as they felt “the CareMap is a gift to caregivers”.