Vicki Powers is a social worker at Paoli Hospital’s Cancer Center in Paoli, PA who has worked closely with Bringing Hope Home. Vicki has referred 104 local families who are in need of our Light of Hope Family Grant Program and holiday Adopt-A-Family Program over the past nine years. Vicki took some time to share a little bit about herself, her work before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and her experience working with Bringing Hope Home.
Vicki began her career in Social Work 18 years ago at West Chester University, and continued to pursue her master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania. When Vicki was 16, she suffered severe injuries from a car accident, which led to her first experience with social workers. During her time recovering at CHOP, Vicki spoke about the impact the nurses and social workers made on her and how the experience inspired her to pursue a career in social work.
Vicki described Paoli Cancer Center as a unique community cancer center. Vicki’s job as a social worker consists of many different roles, including assistance and support. Vicki’s typical day entails finding financial assistance, by looking for grants that help patients with the cost of cancer care, chemotherapy, and anti-nausea medicine. She is also involved in supportive counseling and monthly care support groups. Vicki primarily meets patients when they are newly diagnosed but continues to see and support her patients through medical oncology and radiation oncology.
During the pandemic, Vicki never stopped working in person. She continued her everyday work while also tackling the new struggles that the pandemic brought to the world. She shared that Paoli Cancer Center put in place limited support which allowed one person to be in-person with a patient. Vicki said that she was thankful for Paoli to allow this because, unfortunately, not all cancer centers were able to allow patients to bring any support. COVID-19 itself, the lack of support, extra precautions, and lack of transportation, were all major burdens that Vicki saw patients and families struggle with the most.
The most challenging part of Vicki’s job, pre-pandemic, and currently during the pandemic is having to see patients suffer and progress. Vicki specifically works with adults, many of which have families and jobs. It is very challenging to see patients’ lives change so drastically, whether it be struggling with taking care of young children or having to take time away from their jobs to receive treatment. Vicki finds that the most fulfilling part of her job is being able to help lift the burden of these struggles. Vicki focuses on doing what she can to relieve the added financial stress that comes with cancer care and continues to connect the patients with hospice and home care referrals whose treatments are no longer successful.
Vicki first discovered Bringing Hope Home nine years ago, when the organization was still known as “The Great Guys Group.” At the time, Vicki met Amy, our current Director of Family Outreach, during a small event in Paoli Hospital. When asked to describe her experience working with Bringing Hope Home, Vicki shared that she “can’t say enough.”
“Bringing Hope Home is a wonderful resource for families, because of the different needs Bringing Hope Home is able to meet. From the grant program, to the Adopt-A-Family Program, to just the extra support and kindness, the families are blown away to know that Bringing Hope Home is there to help.”
Vicki is so grateful to be a part of the Bringing Hope Home community and cherishes the Unexpected Amazingness she and the families she has referred have been able to experience. We cannot begin to thank Vicki enough for being part of the Bringing Hope Home community and introducing new families to our programs every year.
Interview and article by BHH intern Jessica Rossbauer