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Designated social worker supports Bayhealth dialysis patients

June 9, 2020

Bayhealth recently welcomed Brooke Sharlow, LCSW, as a social worker whose time is designated to Bayhealth patients who receive dialysis treatments. Each year, about 4,500 dialysis treatments are performed between the nine beds at the Kent campus and four at the Sussex campus.

In addition to collaborating with the care management team to provide quality patient care, federal regulations require a designated social worker to assist patients dealing with end-stage renal disease, according to Dialysis, Vascular Access and Medical Infusions Senior Nurse Manager Gina Collins, MSN, RN, VA-BC.

A native of upstate New York, Sharlow comes to Bayhealth with prior experience working with at-risk children. In her role at Bayhealth, she will attend monthly quality assurance performance meetings with the interdisciplinary team. She will also meet with patients to explain the dialysis process, help them secure outpatient clinic time, help them understand their rights, and educate them on what to do if they can’t get to a treatment.

Because the treatment of dialysis patients is so complex, Sharlow also addresses the patients’ pyschosocial and emotional health. “Some people come to the hospital with other symptoms and then need dialysis. Dialysis is like having a part-time job. It’s unexpected to them, so I help them navigate those feelings, help them find support,” she said. That support could include arranging transportation to treatments, as well as completing necessary paperwork.

Sharlow noted that she enjoys the challenge of medical social work. “I like expanding my knowledge. Since I graduated, that’s what I’ve wanted to do. I like the pace, and I like Bayhealth in general,” she said.

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