A Day in the Life of a Sistercare Hospital Accompaniment Counselor
There’s no such thing as an average day at the office for Mary. Every workday begins with new stories and new survivors to serve as the Hospital Accompaniment Counselor for Sistercare. The Sistercare Hospital Accompaniment Response Team (H.A.R.T) is a program that provides free services to hundreds of domestic violence survivors in the Midlands and surrounding areas every year. With Mary leading as a licensed professional counselor, there is also an amazing team of volunteers and interns on board to provide resources to survivors who have recently been assaulted at the hands of an intimate partner.
“The H.A.R.T. program has helped survivors during some of their darkest hours to get counseling and additional support to live a life that is free of violence,” Mary notes.
Mary is on-call with a special cell phone designated to help patients at Palmetto Health, Lexington Medical Center, and other medical facilities in the Midlands. When that phone rings, it is almost always a social worker on the other end with a referral of a new patient who has sought medical attention due to intimate partner violence. With a care package and a smile, Mary travels across town to offer the patient support and provide information about services with Sistercare. She often is one of the first resources a survivor will meet following an incident of interpersonal violence. While doctors and nurses treat survivors for physical needs, Mary offers an unbiased ear and listens to the patient’s personal story of trauma and victimization.
As she gathers information, Mary continues to deliver emotional support. This may come with an item as simple as a toothbrush or as vital as a cell phone for emergency calls. After she has helped the survivor provide details that are often complicated and disturbing, Mary guides the patient through a danger assessment. This simple questionnaire helps to identify potential threats of violence the survivor may continue to experience by the batterer. From there, Mary works to create a safety plan for the future, so that the survivor can begin on a path to emotional and physical healing.
Close to half of the survivors served through the H.A.R.T program are also referred to services with Sistercare’s emergency shelters and no-cost counseling. Mary also refers many of the survivors she meets to the Sistercare Court Advocacy Program which provides additional support to pending family and criminal court issues. With a varied range of resources, Mary and the H.A.R.T Program volunteers meet survivors in their toughest times and guide them to the first steps of a life free of violence.
Find out how you can donate to the Sistercare H.A.R.T. program by calling our main office at (803) 926-0505.
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