A Day in the Life: Gino Poliziani, LSW

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By May Tran

A Day in the Life: Gino Poliziani, LSW Gino Poliziani, LSW, in front of a craft project encouraging patient families to “Share what’s in your heart.” Some people learn by watching; others by listening. Gino Poliziani, LSW, is one of the latter. By listening to people, their stories, goals and aspirations, he believes we can help even the most vulnerable populations reach their greatest potential.

Before making the switch to pediatric cardiology, Poliziani worked with individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Now as a social worker in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, he spends his time helping heart patients and their families cope with the emotional and practical challenges of illness. This is a day in his life.

Rise and shine
5 a.m. Wakes up, prepares lunch for the day, walks to the gym and works out.
6:30 a.m. Goes home to eat breakfast with his husband and get ready for work.
8 a.m. Takes the subway to CHOP.

On the intensive care team
8:30 a.m. Prints out patient list, reviews situation awareness reports from overnight and makes a to-do list for the day.
9 a.m. Joins medical rounds and provides updates on patients and families to the medical team. This week, Poliziani is assigned to 17 families. This number varies due to the occupancy of the hospital. On this day, he happens to be providing coverage for any emergencies that might arise for one of his fellow social workers who is out.
10:30 a.m. Checks in with a few families to assess their needs.

A Day in the Life: Gino Poliziani, LSW Poliziani reviewing resources with Alycia, whose daughter, Amie, is a patient in the unit. Responding to a Code Blue event
11:30 a.m. Reports to a patient’s room for an emergency situation. Poliziani sits holding mom’s hand and provides emotional support as the patient receives care. He makes sure mom is receiving medical updates and is aware of next steps.
Noon Answers questions and helps mom cope while her child is away for a CT scan. Poliziani doesn’t want to leave her alone, so he pages the chaplain to stop by for spiritual support. The family is from out of state and dad is back home.
12:30 p.m. Debriefs with team to discuss how to best support the family.

Back to business as usual
1 p.m. Spends his lunch break checking email, responding to messages, making phone calls and updating records in the electronic medical record system.
2 p.m. Attends CICU psychosocial rounds with staff from Child Life, case management, psychology, occupational and physical therapy, nursing leadership, and the chaplain. A frontline provider from each team shares updates on their patients, and the psychosocial team provides information on the family and their goals.
3 p.m. Visits a new patient family whose child had heart surgery just the day before. Poliziani introduces himself and explains his role and how he can assist. He also reviews the family resource guide and visitor policy and completes a psychosocial assessment, which helps determine the needs of the family during their admission. He gives the family a gift card, provided by The Brett Boyer Foundation. He notes: “We are lucky to have many great organizations and foundations that help provide financial support to families in the Cardiac Center.” Seeing that the family’s basic needs are taken care of, Poliziani ends the conversation by providing emotional support and validating their concerns.

Circling back around
3:30 p.m. Checks on the family from the emergency call in the morning to assess further and provide mom with some words of encouragement. “Take some time for yourself,” he reminds her. Self-care is important for parents and guardians of patients.
4 p.m. Returns to his office, where other donated gifts are waiting to be handed out, including socks and blankets. While there, he wraps up email, phone calls and notes for the day.
5 p.m. Takes the subway home.

Winding down
6 p.m. Meets husband at home to go on a walk, cook and eat dinner together.
8 p.m. Catches up on the latest news.
10 p.m. Turns off TV and goes to bed.