Social Services

Social Service Department

The Social Service Department is primarilly responsible for the provision of Social Work conducted on the following inpatient nursing units: Watkins I, Watkins II, ICU, OB/Pediatrics and Behavioral Health Units - Geri Psych and Mental Health as well as outpatient areas including the Emergency Department, Special Procedures, Surgical Day Care, Oncology and the Wound Care Center. We are also involved in hospital wide and community outreach initiatives.

Community Outreach Initiatives includes coordinating community events, fairs, legislative events, and community resource directory. We host a variety of programs internally and externally for outreach and educational opportunities. We provide information and referral services, Advanced Directives/Health Care Proxies to the community free of charge. The director is also responsible for the Multcultural Service Department which is responsible for diversity initiatives, interpreter services and spiritual services.

We coordinate  hospital wide programs such as Schwartz Center Rounds, lead the Gardner Area Interagency Team~GAIT, Support Intervention Team, Workplace Violence Task Force, Multicultural Task Force, Greater Gardner Religious Council,  Co-lead the Suicide Prevention Task Force, Nursing Home STAAR initiative, Team Leader for the Heywood Hospital Team the Walk to End Alzhiemers program and lead the hospital's United Way Campaign to name a few.

We serve on the multidisciplinary teams on each unit, Patient/Family Advisory Council, Medical Ethics Committee, Utilization Review Committee, Corporate Compliance as well as participate in community activities and boards such as:

Suicide Prevention Task Force, Spanish American Center, Multicultural Task Force, Northern Worcester County Alzhiemers Partnership, Blaire House of Worcester, Advisory Board, Baldwinville Nursing Home Board of Directors, North Central Mass Minority Coalition, CHNA 9 Steering Committee, Community Health Foundation's Community Outreach Committee, Gardner VNA's Professional Advisory Board, North Central Mass Minority Coalition and GAAMHA's Human Rights Committee.

The Social Service Department is readily available to assist the patient, the patient’s family and other persons significant to the patient with the issues which may develop as a result of illness and hospitalization and services patients of all ages. The Social Worker counsels the patient and family to help with the impact of illness or disability.  The Social Worker considers the patient's emotional, social, environmental and psychological needs and helps the patient with establishing a service plan in accordance with the identified needs.

The provision of Social Work services is based on individual patient need, but generally includes an assessment, planning, and follow-up of each patient through an organized multi-disciplinary team approach. This approach helps a patient following discharge. In accordance with accepted social work practice, the department functions in cooperation with administration, the medical and nursing staff as well as other departments within the Hospital to help the patient obtain maximum benefit from medical and psychiatric care.

Location: The main office is located on the 2nd floor between Watkins 2 and the Nutrition Department. This is were the director and  department assistant are located. The social workers are located on their assigned nursing units.

Meet Our Staff:      

Barbara Nealon, LSW      978-630-6386  

Acute Care              
Jill Cormiuer, LCSW          978-630-6458

Nancy DeLisle, LCSW       978-630-6394

Kathy Barnes, LSW           978-630-6519

Anne Jasinski, LCSW        978-630-6519

Ann Fenlason, LICSW       978-630-6349

Vicki Walet, LSW                978-630-6514

Social Worker Emeritas
Cheryl Boissy, LICSW       978-630-6528                    

Caroline Wilczynski, LSW  978-630-6528                                     

Gloria Palma                       978-630-6166

Per Diem Staff include Joyce Grucan, LICSW and can be reached at 978-630-6166.

Special Highlights:

  • Barbara Nealon, LSW    2013 recipient of the YWCA of Central Mass Katherine F. Erskine Award for Health, Science and Technology
  • KatherineBarnes, LSW   2012  recepient of the Massachusetts National Association of Social Workers "Nursing Home Social Worker of the Year" Award
  • Cheryl Boissy, LICSW   2009 recepient of the Massachusetts National Association of Social Workers   "Life Time Achievement Award"
  • Barbara Nealon, LSW    2010 Leadership and Community Service Award, North Central Massachusetts Minority Coalition; 2009 Shining Star Award, YWCA/Battered Women's Resources recepient; 2011-2005 service award for the Board of Directors of the Greater Gardner CDC;

National Certifications:  Along with state licensure staff may also posses national certifications demonstrating their competencies in other areas such as: Fellow-APA in Psychotherapy {FAPA}; Social Work Addictions Counselor {SWAC}; Criminal Justice Specialist {CCJS}; Forensic Social Worker {CFSW}; Homeland Security {CHS-I}; MasterChaplain {CMC} and Diplomate in Clinical Social Work

Example of some of our services provided:

Advanced Directives/Health Care Proxies

The Social Service Assistant is available to provide Health Care Proxies free of charge. They are available in other languages such as: Spanish, Portuguese-European & Brazillian, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Lao, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Hmong. For more information contact the Department Assistant. 

Caregiver's Support Group

The Caregiver's Support group is for the caregivers of Alzheimer patients. This support group is co-lead by the Geriatric Psychiatric Unit & Social Service Department. Leaders consist of a Licensed Mental Health Therapist and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker.

The group meets on the last Wednesday of each month at 2pm in the OBS conference room. Offered free of charge. For more information contact Ann Fenlason, LICSW at 978-630-6349.

Schwartz Center Rounds {Caregiver Rounds for Healthcare Providers}

Schwartz Center Rounds is a caregiver support group, for hospital staff, sponsored by The Kenneth B. Schwartz Center.  For more information about the program at Heywood Hospital contact Barbara Nealon at or by calling (978) 630-6386. For more information on The Kenneth B. Schwartz Center visit their

Gardner Area Interagency Team "Community Networking At It's Best"

The GAIT Team is committed to the coordination and improvement of health and human services in the Greater Gardner Area. Our purpose is to provide an opportunity for networking, communication and collaborations between area concerned citizens and the Community at large. To promote the development and enhancement of health and human Services in our area. To advocate on behalf of consumers seeking, receiving or in need of health and human services in our area. To promote CLAS: Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services standards within the Greater Gardner Service Area.

Meetings are held on the last Friday of every month at 8:30am in Dining room Conference Room A. Except for July and August. We do not meet during the summer and November and December's meeting are joined on the 2nd Friday in December due to the holiday season.

Suicide Prevention Task Force {Servicing Gardner and Gardner Area Towns}

This team was established in March 2012 as the result of the Community Health Needs Assessment published Fall 2011 identifying Gardner and the Gardner Area Towns as highest for incidences within the 27 cities and towns reviewed in the study. Heywood Hospital took the lead with establishing this task force to help reduce the incidences of suicide. This group is co-lead by the Director of Social Service and Director of Psychiatric Services. We partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health developed a Steering Committee.

Our meetings are held on the 1st Monday usually unless it is a holiday, at Heywood Hospital in Dining Room Conference Room A at 10am. Membership includes community representatives such as school departments, law enforcement, city/town representatives, survivors of sucide, medical staff, nurses, social workers, mental health agencies, our legislators, Department of Mental Health and other health and human service agencies. For more information, visit or contact




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