Jane Scott Baier smiling

#IamMGH – Meet Jane Scott Baier

#IamMGH tells the stories of our people. To celebrate Social Work Week (March 4 to 10) and Kidney Health Month (March), meet Jane Scott Baier, Registered Social Worker in Michael Garron Hospital’s (MGH) Nephrology (Renal) Program.   

“I started working at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) in 2002 right after I completed a Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto. For the first few years at MGH I worked in acute care then moved to the Outpatient Renal Department around seven years ago. In the Outpatient Renal Department, I see patients in the In-Centre Hemodialysis Clinic and our patients that are part of the Home Peritoneal Dialysis Program.  

What drew me to social work was the ability to advocate for patients who may need support adapting to new health challenges and to assist them in making informed decisions about their care. In the outpatient renal department, I do this by ensuring patients who have just learned about their diagnosis are equipped with tools for adjusting to their illness. These tools include education around treatment options; information on valuable resources such as financial supports, medication coverage and transportation to and from appointments; and counselling around fears related to their illness, lifestyle changes, anxiety and more.  

As a social worker that supports patients that have kidney disease, it is important to highlight both Social Work Week and Kidney Health Month. Not only does Social Work Week celebrate our work but it raises awareness around the importance of social workers in many different environments like schools, long-term care, hospitals and more. At MGH, there is a highly skilled team of social workers with a broad range of skills that support vulnerable patients. In dialysis, I make sure to see every patient that comes into the program and set up appointments with them based on their individual needs. These appointments can take place in-person and over the phone depending on the patient's needs. 

Raising awareness around kidney health is essential because kidney disease is not an illness that is well known, and it can help educate people on risk factors (diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, family history). Kidney disease is very complicated and many individuals with it face different challenges and obstacles as there is no cure. Treatment for kidney disease includes hemodialysis, medication, and in some cases, it can lead to kidney transplant. Adapting to these treatments can be challenging, especially considering the time commitment of hemodialysis, which can last three to four hours, three times a week, not including the time spent traveling to and from the hospital. If a patient is looking at a kidney transplant as an option, we will help them navigate this route and do a pre-transplant assessment.  

Navigating kidney disease is a challenging process. While interacting with patients, I prioritize compassion, recognizing that every patient’s journey and care needs are unique. My goal is to provide not just support, but a sense of empowerment, helping patients navigate challenges and make informed decisions about their care. Through my work, I hope to continue raising awareness about kidney health and the vital role of social workers in providing comprehensive care to those affected by kidney disease.” 

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