Capital Institute for Neurosciences

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Social Worker Provides Support For Patients

For patients dealing with serious health conditions, medical diagnosis and treatment are just part of what can be an overwhelming situation.

To help address the non-clinical aspects of care, Victoria Pena-Cardinali, a bilingual licensed social worker, has joined the Capital Institute for Neurosciences.

It’s her job to help patients and families dealing with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, complex pain and autism find support and resources. She also helps families identify safety issues that need to be addressed and managed, specifically for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

“We knew that there were very significant social issues associated with some of the medical conditions we provide diagnosis and treatment for, and Victoria’s experience made her a perfect fit to help families navigate what can be a very difficult process,” said Dr. Erol Veznedaroglu, director of the Capital Institute for Neurosciences and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Capital Health.

With a master’s degree in social work from New York University, Pena-Cardinali works with physicians at the Capital Institute for Neurosciences to conduct psychosocial assessments, locate appropriate community and government resources, and help develop treatment plans.

“I see myself as an extension of our physician and nursing team,” said Pena-Cardinali, who served as a social worker for the Institute’s Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit before moving to the outpatient side. “These diseases can be complex and complicated, and they impact more than a patient’s physical well-being. They have a large social aspect as well, and it’s important that we provide support along the way.”

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