My Little People: A Social Worker’s Journey by Annie Clara Brown
“Life is uncertain, but death is sure” is a saying that I heard many years before I started my professional journey in social work. Death is a bleak subject; who wants to discuss dying? Even though the Holy Scriptures speak much about the subject, it is not one of those subjects that the average person is comfortable about discussing. While God is a healer, it remains a mystery why some people with certain illnesses live longer and others die sooner. In the midst of the whys and how comes, many things we will not have an answer to until the return of Christ. As we have moved from generation to generation, we have learned new ways to take care of a person who has a terminal diagnosis and has been given a time limit on their life. When I was a child people died at home, but they did not have the comforts that have come into existence for people in the twentieth century. So what has changed? It is called hospice…
Annie Clara Brown is passionate about her work in hospice. It is gratifying to have embraced the social work profession in this manner. She cares deeply for her patients and caregivers, and she has developed a healthy sense of humor working in an area that can be demanding physically and emotionally.
My Little People is educational, informative and can be used as a self-help tool/resource for the terminally ill, caregivers, social workers, clergy, counselors, friend of a loved one, and other healthcare professionals. The primary subject matter is hospice and the benefits of having hospice involved in end of life care.
My Little People Book Reviews
“If you are searching for answers about Hospice care this is an extraordinary read. This book not only defines who, what, when, and where of Hospice, but also tells the heartfelt stories of a humbled medical social worker making the best of heart wrenching situations. Ms. Brown addresses many of society’s questions regarding Hospice in general. She ties in her personal experiences to make an informative, yet personal, story to educate individuals and families on Hospice. I enjoyed reading about the various encounters Ms. Brown has experienced. These experiences, most of all, enlightened me to a deeper journey in Hospice Social Work. This book is a must read!”
— Amanda Johnson, MSW
My Little People is a virtual gift to those who read it, in that its author has managed to successfully interconnect valuable, historical hospice social work information for its use in a professional forum and for the sake of the individual battling terminal illness. This book serves as an invaluable tool for any caretaker or loved one navigating the end of life process.
— Marta James Harris, LBSW
Excerpt: From Introduction Part 1
Even with today’s sometimes unfathomable advances in technology, many terminally ill persons and their family members believe that chasing curative care is their only option, and are unaware of both the benefits and accessibility of hospice care. In her new book, Social Worker Annie Clara Brown tells her own story of working with hundreds of terminally ill patients, and provides a vital guide to those considering hospice care for themselves or a loved one.
‘My Little People: A Social Worker’s Journey’ is part memoir and part guidebook; a game-changing text for those exploring options for making someone’s final days pain-free and harmonious.
So why do I consider it important to write a book on hospice care? One reason is because I believe it is important for social workers, patients, and caregivers to understand how rewarding it is to be able to assist families at one of the most critical times in their lives as the patient is preparing to make a transition from earth to eternity.
Another reason is that as the generation of baby boomers are aging and suffering from terminal diseases, there is going to be a greater need for compassionate social workers to take care of us. Also patients’ caregivers need to understand that they have help available to them so they do not have to take the journey alone. I have witnessed that having hospice in the home and being spared some of the stress of trying to get the patient to a doctor’s appointment or go for tests is invaluable.
Finally, in earlier years, I was a caregiver for several of my family members who suffered from a terminal illness and I had no idea that the option was available to have my family members cared for at home; therefore, it is my personal mission to help educate others about such a vital service to patients and their families. In hindsight, if only I had known some of the following information, some of the wear and tear on my body and unnecessary trips late at night to the hospital could have been avoided. I did not know, but I want you (the readers) to know.
My Little People: A Social Worker’s Journey
Intimate Conversation with Annie Clara Brown
Annie Clara Brown is a licensed social worker who holds a Baccelerate of Social Work (BSW) from the University of Montevallo and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Alabama. She currently works as a hospice social worker with Lakeside Hospice in Pell City, Alabama. Her job duties makes her responsible for conducting psychosocial assessments, counseling patients and their families about end of life issues, helping patients and their families to access community resources, and conducting grief support groups as needed.
Annie Clara Brown is passionate about her work in hospice. She finds it gratifying to have embraced the social work profession in this manner! She cares deeply for her patients and care-givers, she has developed a healthy sense of humor working in an area that can be demanding both physically and emotionally. Annie’s strengths lie in the personal stories and her personal feelings, reactions, and experiences. Annie hopes to inspire caregivers and patients to choose hospice care when faced with terminal illness at the end of life. She further wants social workers and healthcare workers to know that hospice care can be one of the most challenging but fulfilling areas to serve mankind.
BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
My journey into social work began when my job in textile was sent overseas. However, in hindsight, there has been an innate desire in my heart to help others since I was a child and saw so much poverty in my neighborhood. My greatest motivation came from God who gave me a heart for people and my family who were so supportive during my transition from textiles to becoming a social work professional. It was not easy going back to school at age forty-six.
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
This work can be for any layperson, terminally ill person, social workers, or other healthcare professional. Yes, I believe any area of your life that you are passionate about, whether it be an author or social worker should be an extension of who you are.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book?
Mostly reflections and seeing an increase in the use of hospice care over the last ten years. Why now? I am getting ready to retire in a couple of years; therefore, I wanted to have a book out about hospice care from a social worker prospective.
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed remembering the different patients who became part of my journey and has such an impact on my life.
BPM: Where do your book ideas come from?
Most of my ideas came from the need for the terminally ill and their families to understand there are options when they are tired of aggressive care and the care is not effective.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your most recent work?
Yes. My recent work is about my personal journey as a social worker as I tell about the gratification I have experienced as I have embraced the profession as a hospice social worker. The work has been challenging, but yet fulfilling because I have been invited into the lives of various aged persons, social economic status groups, ethnicity, races at one of the most critical times in their lives. Regardless, of who they are, if they have or have not death does not discriminate and if God does not perform a miracle of healing, then the one thing they all have in common is death at the end. Is this book available on Nook and Kindle? Yes the book is available on Nook and Kindle.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, spiritual practice or journey?
End of life issues includes so many diverse and complex issues in that retrospect death and dying bring your own immortality into a reality of it could be me. Therefore, it causes me to examine myself to say if the Lord were to call me home would I spend eternity with God. That same principle is applicable to every living human being because we do not know when our time is up on this earth and we do not know what avenue we may have to move out. So each day I am concerned about the emotional and spiritual state of the patient and their families that I encounter.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book?
Yes, I did or actually writing about the services of hospice has reaffirmed for me personally that if I was diagnosed with a terminal illness and was told that there were no curative measures; then, I would personally choose hospice care.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
Actually, I share about some of my patients in the book; however, my coworkers have some interesting stories to tell about some of their encounters and some of the bloopers they experienced. There was a phone call made to the office one day and the patient’s son was adamant about his mother having a Paracentesis (removal of fluid off a person’s stomach when they have liver disease. Our receptionist who is Tam took the call. After giving the son’s phone call to the appropriate healthcare person, Tam seemed so upset because she could not understand why someone with a terminal illness would need a new pair of “teethies”
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
My goals are educational and supportive. I believe that the book can be used as a go to guide when someone is asked about hospice and what hospice does. The book also gives some great personal self-care tips for laypersons, pastors, social workers or healthcare professionals.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I am working on any updated edition of my first book Christians with Pervasive Issues. Also, I am offering workshops to churches and communities on end of life issues.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
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