Patient Portal

Social Services

The Social Service Department is primarily 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 Multicultural 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 Alzheimers 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 Alzheimers 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, 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.


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.

Special Highlights

Katherine Barnes,
2012 recipient of the Massachusetts National Association of Social Workers "Nursing Home Social Worker of the Year" Award

Cheryl Boissy, LICSW
2009 recipient of the Massachusetts National Association of Social Workers "Life Time Achievement Award"

Barbara Nealon,
2010 Leadership and Community Service Award, North Central Massachusetts Minority Coalition; 2009 Shining Star Award, YWCA/Battered Women's Resources recipient;  2013 recipient of the Central Mass YWCA's Katharine Erskine Award for Women in Leadership in the area of Health, Science and Technology; 2014 Sentinel & Enterprise 'Salute to Women' 

National Certifications

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