March is Social Work Month and we’re excited to spotlight our social workers across the organization, starting with our new palliative care social worker – Lacey Exton.
Lacey joined our team in November 2021 as a palliative care social worker at UofL Health – UofL Hospital. She admires the diversity of Louisville and was drawn to UofL Health’s mission to transform the health of the communities we serve through compassionate, innovative, patient-centered care. She also appreciates the quality of care we give to the variety of patient populations our organization serves.
Lacey has a unique role that largely focuses on patients struggling with terminal illnesses or end-of-life situations. She works to provide resources about grief and bereavement services, hospice care and community palliative care for families and friends.
“I love coming to work every day because the team I work with genuinely cares about people. They care about patients, loved ones and staff members that are struggling with a difficult diagnosis. We all step into the uncomfortable conversations when things aren’t going as someone hoped,” Lacey said.
One of her favorite things about UofL Health is our organization’s willingness to bring peace and comfort to our patients in creative ways. Lacey’s role allows her to go the extra mile and bring personalized care to each patient. Recently, she was able to play a patient’s favorite song and create a moment of joy for both her and the patient.
Like many of our team members, Lacey collaborates with different departments throughout UofL Hospital. One of the teams she works with is our UofL Health – Chaplaincy Services team. She has worked with UofL Hospital chaplains to help educate loved ones about the grief process and when to seek help.
“I help people discuss and document their medical wishes so if they get too sick to speak for themselves, their loved ones know what their wishes are,” Lacey said.
She makes it her personal goal to create a strong, supportive, inpatient and outpatient palliative care program and live out the UofL Health mission daily.
“I try to meet people where they are,” Lacey said. “Sometimes something that seems like a small gesture makes the biggest impact. I try to think outside the box to meet individual needs.”
Outside of work, Lacey loves going home to her two dachshunds, Dierks and Cash. She’s initially from Princeton, Ky., and went to Western Kentucky University for college (go Tops!).
When she’s not watching the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, she’s probably reading American Dirt or catching up on her favorite podcast, Crime Junkies.
Lacey could eat pizza every day for the rest of her life but loves a good breakfast burrito or French toast every now and then.
She lives by the mantra, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better” by Maya Angelou and applies this quote to her daily work.
If she could learn any skill, it’d be to speak Spanish fluently. So, if you catch Lacey around, be sure to say “hola” and ask about her day. She would love to get to know you!