Social Worker Provides Added Support for Patients at Neuroscience Institute

For patients dealing with serious health conditions, medical diagnosis and treatment is just one facet of dealing with what can be an overwhelming situation. To help address the non-clinical aspects of care, the Capital Institute for Neurosciences added bilingual licensed social worker Victoria Pena-Cardinali. It’s her job to help patients and families dealing with conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, complex pain, and autism find support and resources as well as identifying when safety issues need to be identified 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 Institute physicians 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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