World Social Work Day 2020 - Meet our Social Workers

17 Mar 2020

Continuing with the theme on World Social Work Day of promoting the importance of human relationships, Jewish Care Senior Social Workers, Jason Kassemof and Simone Swimer, who are part of Jewish Care’s Social Work and Community Support Team, talk about their roles and what it’s like to be a social worker. We share some of their client’s experiences too.

Over the last year, 2,575 people and their families have been supported by Jewish Care’s Social Work and Community Support Service.

Jason Kassemoff, also a Senior Social Worker at Jewish Care, explains what motivated him to become a social worker. He says, “As a teenager, I was a young carer, and later on as a young man my father died. I changed my career path to try and be there to effect positive changes for people in need to support them to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

“I’ve worked for 17 years before coming to Jewish Care, in hospital, rapid response social work and healthcare environments and nine years in a hospice, so I am very used to working in a multi-disciplinary way. I learned from my social work training, as well from nine years working in palliative care, to work with professionals from different disciplines and other agencies, to look at client’s needs overall.

“I’m motivated by working holistically. That means understanding, not just their physical health, practical and social needs, but their financial, emotional and spiritual needs, their networks, as well as what carries meaning in their lives. Looking at the person’s wider situation gives a sense of the person as a whole and that holistic view helps motivate me to do my work.”

Jason continues, “It can be hard for clients and their families to navigate systems and bureaucratic processes. Even calling a call centre for social care can be too much for some clients, I also support them to put plans in place to meet their own needs, if what’s in place, cannot provide the support for some time. The impact of austerity on local Councils has made many services harder overall to access, due to the higher demand overall.

“People have wide and varied individual needs, and also different levels of their own social support, and I work hard to listen to what each person’s priorities are, assess their needs and try to support and empower them and their families to achieve their goals.

“By liaising with external health and social care professionals, I try to co-ordinate and tie together different strands in the client’s circle of professional involvement. Communication is really important so I work closely with the client and any family or friends involved, to let them know, as the situation develops, what’s possible to achieve at a particular time and what is not.”

Jason has been supporting one client, Simeon, 72, who says, “I was living in a shared house and went into hospital and couldn’t manage the stairs. Jason has supported me with all the basics right from the start, including finding a new flat which I’ve been waiting for a long time. He’s liaised with the local authority so that the carers to help maintain their visits and told me about benefits that I didn’t even know I could apply for but that I am now receiving, all things I couldn’t have done myself in fact, I couldn’t have done 90% of what he’s done!”

Simeon adds, “He’s been very patient with me and gives me the freedom to make the decisions and find the right place that I liked. He’s made the move so much easier.”

Another client of the social work team is Mavis Hallegua, 91. Mavis is a dedicated volunteer in Jewish Care’s fundraising team, had a fall and went into hospital, her colleagues rallied round her and Jewish Care’s Social Work and Community Support Team were there to liaise with Mavis and the multi-disciplinary hospital and rehabilitation teams to ensure that she had the care she needed in place to move back home.

Mavis says, “My colleagues gave me every support, visiting me in the hospital and providing me with anything I required. I was well taken care of and Simone from the Social Work and Community Support Team was in touch with the hospital team all the time, even when I was taken home, Jewish Care was always there behind me and I feel particularly grateful for their support.”

Simone Swimer, Jewish Care Senior Social Worker, says, “There are so many services and support options available to people, that the journey to access them can sometimes be chaotic and confusing. My role is to support people to navigate systems to find out what might be helpful to them, whether they are experiencing a difficult time or on a road to recovery.

She continues, “Networking, building and maintaining relationships with service providers and community resources, are crucial for good social work practice and help us to enable best outcomes for clients. Knowing that I’ve been able to support people achieve their goals is the most rewarding part of my job.” 

For more information or to contact the Social Work and Community Support Team, please call Jewish Care Direct on 020 8922 2222 or helpline@jcare.org