From her first psychology course in college, Bev Brown was sold on social work. She knew that she didn’t want to take the path of research and was interested in the ways people engaged and lived. As a clinical social worker, Brown moved from New York to Texas, to Kentucky, and lastly to Dayton.
Brown began her career working in inpatient psychiatric care, providing individual, group, and family sessions. After 35 years in clinical social work, Brown turned to medical social work where she serves as an advocate for patients. She has worked with Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton for three years, starting as a medical social worker before beginning her current role as an admission care liaison – social worker.
“I enjoy that I am continually learning from patients,” Brown said. “I was a psychiatric social worker for 35 years, and those patients and the patients who are dying taught me a lot about living. I appreciate that the hospice population allows me to have a window into their lives during a vulnerable time.”
Sara Monroe, medical social worker coordinator, said Brown’s experience in counseling gives her confidence and knowledge for intervening with patients who have behavioral health histories.
“She is able to build rapport and trust with patients who are distrustful of the health system, and to engage to help with determining the best course to move forward to provide the best quality of life possible for patients in this population,” Monroe said.
When meeting patients who are angry or frustrated with the situation they are in, Brown works to offer validation and reflective listening to honor where they are at in their journey.
“Everyone has a perspective. Regardless of their history, everyone wants to be loved and heard,” Brown said. “I do my best to make patients feel heard. I want to hear their stories and am fascinated by the unfairness of illness and what patients share through that.”
Brown has shared her expertise with crisis services for the hospice team to better provide support for patients experiencing a mental health crisis.
“Due to Bev’s ongoing work in mental health counseling outside of hospice, she was able to provide education on the referral process to mental health counselors for staff and provide the service to patients who needed it and would not have been easily able to visit an office,” Monroe said. “This helped break down barriers of distrust and difficulty with the patients clearly communicating their needs to our staff and allowed us to then intervene effectively and provide comfort and improved quality of life.”
Dr. Amy Mestemaker, a team physician, expressed appreciation for Brown, explaining how Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton’s home care services have benefited from Brown’s knowledge and expertise.
“Bev has taught the rest of us how to deal constructively, and not reactively, with patients with complex psychological and psychiatric conditions,” Dr. Mestemaker said. “Bev is better at navigating challenging personality disorders, multiple personalities, and even difficult family dynamics. She is so appreciated.”