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In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Social Workers serve the community with all their heart

Published September 12, 2019

Being in a familiar place enhances the quality of life for a person who is aging, ill or lives with a disability. For those who qualify, In-Home Supportive Services connects them with local caregivers so they can remain in their home instead of being placed in a hospice facility. HHSA determines eligibility for services and does home visits to ensure clients are receiving proper care.

We sat down with a few of our IHSS social workers to find out what they do and it revealed their passion for the job.


Julie Carlon, Current Program Manager and has worked in IHSS since 2010

What I love about the program is that we get to keep people safe in their home when they need care that would normally require them to stay in a facility. Staying in a familiar place is a much better alternative because of the individualized attention they receive. They also get to stay close and connected with their loved ones.

Helping someone in their most vulnerable state is a humbling experience and I’ve learned a great deal of empathy.

My favorite part of the job has always been doing home visits. They are always very welcoming. Sometimes we are the only human contact they have outside of their provider and doctors. One of the most important things we do while we are there is to listen to our clients, their families and do our best to understand their situation. While most of the work we do enhances a person’s quality of life, only a few get better. We do our best to be compassionate when delivering hard news in stressful times.

Everyone on my team has a servant’s heart. They really give their all to the clients and their families, as well as to their fellow staff members. They adapt well to a job where the rules are constantly changing and maintain a positive outlook.



Garrett German, IHSS Social Worker for two-years

My favorite part of being a social worker for IHSS is the human interaction. It’s especially cool to talk with the older generation and learn from their past experiences. I have developed a deep respect for people who share their war stories, other life challenges, like growing up during the Great Depression, or just their current day-to-day life. I get to hear what they’ve been through and what they’re battling through now.

I love helping others in any way that I can. I understand they are in a tough spot and I could be there someday, too, so I try to go above and beyond within the scope of my job. Everyone needs someone they can vent to when times get rough. It’s nice when someone sits down and just lets you talk.

It’s a wonderful program. I love the fact that we have a one-on-one relationship with the clients and being able to improve their quality of life is amazing. For some people, we are the only contact they have aside from their provider. It’s important to make them feel wanted. Developing these close relationships can make it tough if they pass away, but having that positive connection with them makes the difficult times in my job worth it.



Elizabeth Nelson, IHSS Assistant Social Worker for a little more than six months

Helping people is what I’ve always wanted to do. I love being able to go out and meet face-to-face with my clients. Some are people I wouldn’t normally encounter if I did not work in this field. Being able to establish a rapport and find out who they are on a personal level has opened my eyes to the fact that everyone’s path in life is different. I enjoy getting to hear their stories.

I’ve learned that a friendly voice can go a long way. The people we serve are in a vulnerable and stressful position. Sometimes they throw out a lot of emotions. It’s not something I take personally. I know they’re going through a lot. I use compassion, hear them out and try my best to understand their situation. It’s important to me to go above and beyond to let them know they are not alone.

It’s also hard not to get attached. A few of the people I serve eventually get better and can manage their care on their own. However, one of the most difficult parts of my job is watching some people’s health decline. That’s one of the reasons why, for me, for me, it’s not just doing a job. It’s not just assessments and reports. It’s helping people in any way you can and being compassionate for people and their situation.


(Pictured above: The In-Home Supportive Services team.)

More information about In-Home Supportive Services, including an application for eligibility, can be found on our website or by calling 530-225-5507.

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