Home > News & Events > Meet Maddy Goodwin: Supporting Clients in HSC’s Central Dialysis Unit

Meet Maddy Goodwin: Supporting Clients in HSC’s Central Dialysis Unit

Madeleine (Maddy) Goodwin started out as a marketing and communications associate with an agricultural association after completing a degree in International Development Studies in 2015. Fast-forward to 2024, and Maddy is now a social worker in the Central Dialysis Unit at HSC.

“I did a lot of soul searching, and in 2019, I decided to quit my job and enter the Faculty of Social Work,” said Maddy. “Then right at the height of COVID, I did my practicum at HSC and I never left.”

Maddy worked in the ER, ICU and COVID wards, helping out wherever needed, then in Fall 2021, she took a position in the Rehabilitation unit, working mostly with patients adjusting to life-changing physical injuries.

“The majority of the clients I worked with in the rehab unit had suffered a spinal cord injury, which obviously results in severe physical trauma because it can cause paralysis, but this type of injury also has significant mental and emotional impacts. A spinal cord injury, an amputation or other type of serious injury can change everything about your previous life, and that means adapting to a whole new reality.”

According to Maddy, the Rehab unit’s social workers help clients consider all aspects of their new way of living and access resources and services.

“I supported clients in assessing their current housing and whether it could continue to meet their needs. I helped them navigate the home care program, apply for disability benefits, figure out transportation, develop coping skills, connect with counsellors, and more. Then there are the caregivers, including partners and family members. This type of severe injury changes everything for everyone in the circle.”

In 2023, Maddy accepted a position in the Central Dialysis unit, working mostly with outpatients.

“There are five renal social workers on the team, and I follow roughly 80 clients at any given time. My typical clients are very complex, as they’re mostly lower-income folks with advanced to end-stage renal disease. They’re coming here for dialysis, but they often have many chronic diseases and co-morbidities, as well as social issues and barriers to deal with. We really try to meet folks wherever they’re at, which means doing everything we can just to get them here for treatment. Once they’re here, we can offer additional types of support and resources to try to meet their other needs.”

Maddy says roughly one-quarter of her clients are from Northern Manitoba, which often means relocating to Winnipeg for dialysis and separating from family and community. They can’t work, which means they don’t have an income, and that means they may not have a safe, clean and comfortable place to stay while they’re here either.

“I have even booked taxis for clients because they don’t have a phone or vehicle or any money for a cab…I want to try to do anything I can to support them and reduce the harm that would come from missing dialysis. What’s most important to our team is a dignified quality of life for our clients, and of course, we are concerned about their overall well-being. I spend a lot of time chatting privately on the phone or texting with people, because it can be tough to talk confidentially about difficult things while dialysis is happening. This unit is big and busy and there’s a lot of activity here all the time.”

Maddy says that social work plays a vital role across the health-care system and that career opportunities exist in a variety of units.

“Social workers provide incredible value to the system because we remove barriers to treatment and we work preventatively to reduce hospital admissions. Hospital stays are intensive and extremely expensive, so we work hard to try to keep people out of hospital and reduce pressure on the system. We are problem-solvers working in a very fast-paced environment, and we try to learn and share information with clients about everything that may be available to support them.”

Maddy met her husband, Brent Moyer, a Rehabilitation Clinician at HSC, and says that working together in health care has its benefits.

“We definitely help each other out dealing with the stress and emotional baggage that comes with a health care career. We talk a lot, but we set boundaries. We also travel a lot and we live an outdoorsy life, cycling, hiking and swimming.”

Professional success for Maddy is about listening and she spends a lot of her time doing exactly that.

“People need to talk and express themselves. I always want to treat my clients as people first; people who deserve kindness. I find myself frequently serving as a mediator between all the elements of a very complex system and acting as an advocate to try to shield my clients from judgment and limit risks to their cultural safety. Their emotional needs often supersede the physical, so I would love to be able to do more counselling, but building strong relationships to help them feel comfortable coming to the unit for treatment is what matters most.”


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