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The one hundred honoree: Central Maine Medical Center Oncology Social Workers

Profile in Medicine

The one hundred honoree: Central Maine Medical Center Oncology Social Workers

Mass General Giving

In the Central Maine Medical Center’s oncology social work program, Karen DeGrandpre, LCSW, OSW-C, and Kailie Sullivan, LSCW, OSW-C, are true beacons of compassion for patients and families.

“They are the dynamic duo,” says Courtney Jensen, MD, from the Central Maine Medical Center. She’s speaking of Karen and Kailie and the tireless work they do as they serve a rural population that often faces challenges including poverty, isolation and limited health literacy. They work closely with the medical team to address the psychosocial and emotional needs of patients and identify potential barriers to care. Karen and Kailie meet with every patient during treatment to assess their needs and provide counseling and support. They also provide bereavement support services for families after the loss of a loved one. Always exhibiting the highest level of professionalism, Karen and Kailie bring a can-do attitude to every interaction they have with patients and staff.

In addition, Karen and Kailie were instrumental in incorporating distress screening and management into the Central Maine Medical Center cancer program. Working with teams in medical and radiation oncology, they created a care process that monitors each patient’s distress.They provide regular reports regarding this initiative, keeping the issue at the forefront of the center’s agenda. Karen and Kailie have also connected the center with a University of Michigan study on distress and outcomes in the cancer population. These efforts promise to help the center while advancing the collective knowledge of this important aspect of cancer care.

In the words of Dr. Jensen, “Karen and Kailie are truly one in a million for the work they do every day helping to meet the needs of cancer patients in central Maine.”