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Social worker an integral part of residents’ care team

Babette Collins begins each new relationship with a resident in the same way: with a deep dive into their life story.

The social services director at Parsons Presbyterian Manor coordinates the care plan for each resident in long-term care. It all begins with a social history. This conversation about the resident’s life may take upwards of two hours, depending on how much they want to share.

“I feel honored to listen to their story,” Babette said. “I want to get to know them and understand what each of them have been through.”

After the social history, Babette takes multiple inventories to determine each resident’s goals and objectives, including whether they plan to stay permanently or return to their home.

Multiple people are involved in each care plan, including the resident’s family and other staff members. Residents may also include anyone else who is part of their support system, including friends.

“It gets everybody on the same page,” Babette said.

After Babette helps create the initial plan, it is reviewed every three months to determine if needs or goals have changed. However, a family member may request an updated care plan at any time.

Babette spent the first two decades of her career working in children and family services before she joined the staff of the Presbyterian Manor six years ago.

“In social work, there tends to be a high level of burnout, and I felt like I had given it all I could,” Babette said. “This opportunity came up, and I’m so happy I applied. It’s probably the best decision I’ve ever made.”

The Pittsburg, Kan., native planned to study elementary education, but realized she wanted to work one-on-one with people to help them better their lives. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Pittsburg State University, and she is licensed throughout the state of Kansas.

Babette lives with her son Chance plus two dogs and a cat. She enjoys spending time with her family, including her mother, who lives in a senior living community in Pittsburg. She likes to relax by taking in a movie or reading a thriller, and she watches so many nature documentaries she sometimes dreams about animals.

Knowing she makes a difference is the best thing about Babette’s job at the Presbyterian Manor.

“Making a resident’s life more gratifying for them” is what her job is all about, Babette said. “I like knowing I’m a part of that.”

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