Long Term Care Social Workers of Iowa

LTCSWI Spring Conference
Thursday & Friday, March 30-31, 2023
Gateway Hotel and Conference Center~Ames, Iowa

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Complicated and Prolonged Grief: When Things Get Really Complicated

Christopher Sparks, LISW, Iowa Veterans Home

Veterans Affairs: Caregiver Support Program and In-Home Services

Sarah Greazel, LISW, VA Central Iowa

A Psychosocial Approach to Reducing Use of Unnecessary Medications for People Living with Dementia

Kaleigh Gilmore, LMSW; Lindsey Reed, CTRS; & Sarah Neary, LMSW,
Oaknoll Retirement, Iowa City

Hospice Care: Having Conversations, Dispelling Myths,
and Understanding Treatments

Deanne Carman, RN, CHPN; & Leigh Ann Gibbs, RN, Mary Greeley Hospice

Hey! Mr. Funeral Director

Blair Overton, BA, AS, Iowa Funeral Planning


Friday, March 31, 2023

Social Work in Long Term Care: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Ben Woodworth, MSW, CBIST, Hartworth Consulting; & Holli Petersen Striegel, LMSW, St. Lukeís Hospital

Medicaid Ė How Does it Really Work?

Sonya Ackerson, Founder/CEO, The Sonya Group

Fighting Back Against Parkinsonís

Natasha Nikkel & Jon Jordan, Directors of Community Well-Being, Hearthstone, Pella and Heritage House, Atlantic 

Conference Brochure

About Our Presenters - Thursday, March 30

Chris Sparks, LISW, worked for thirty-nine years in organizations providing community services for people with intellectual disabilities, life-changing brain injuries, and serious and chronic mental health problems. Most of that time was spent in administrator or agency leadership roles, but he was always a clinician at heart. Sparks, a licensed independent social worker, did clinical work at the mental health center in Waterloo part-time for many years. In April of 2022 he fulfilled a career capstone dream of working as a clinician full-time and accepted a position at the Iowa Veteran's Home as a Psychologist. 

Sarah Greazel, LISW, is the coordinator for the Program of General Caregiver Support Services for the Caregiver Support Program at VA Central Iowa. Sarah earned her bachelorís degree in social work at The University Of Northern Iowa and Masters of Social Work at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a specialty in health care.  Sarah knew she wanted to be a social worker since high school when a mentor recognized social work skills. The mentor linked her with a social worker in the community who gave direction on how to meet the goal of becoming a social worker. Sarah has worked with infants, mothers, children, and juvenile offenders, however her passion is truly with the medical field. She spent 7 years working as a hospice social worker before working at Veteran Affairs. Sarah worked with veterans placed in contacted nursing homes and veterans residing at the Community Living Center for 7 years before accepting the position at PGCSS Coordinator. She has been  exclusively supporting caregivers who care for our Nations Veterans for the past 2 years, though this has come second nature to her throughout her time as a social worker.  She enjoys the supportive nature of the position, working as a team, and developing and implementing ways to support caregivers. She also serves on the Dementia Committee at VA Central Iowa.  Sarah enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and traveling when she is outside of work.

Kaleigh Gilmore, LMSW, is a social worker at Oaknoll Retirement Residence, Iowa City.  She received her graduate social work degree from the University of Iowa School of Social Work.  For 13 years, she has worked with individuals, families, and interdisciplinary team members in end of life and long-term care fields of practice.  She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Lindsey Reed, CTRS, is a Recreation Therapist at Oaknoll Retirement Residence, Iowa City.  She has worked at Oaknoll for 16 years as the Recreation Therapy Specialist. Her main focus is in the Health Center and Assisted Living, but also works throughout the continuum.   Lindsey has been a Teepa Snow PAC Trainer for 8 years.  She and the Oaknoll PAC team conduct staff training for Oaknoll employees, for other aging service communities, and for local business and service organizations.

Sarah Neary, LMSW, is a social worker at Oaknoll Retirement Residence, Iowa City.  She has her masterís degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa.  Her career has primarily focused on the elder population, long term care and end of life issues.  She has worked at Oaknoll Retirement Residence for the last 7 years and spends most of her time coordinating resident transitions in care.

Deanne Carman, RN, has her Associate Degree in Nursing and is certified in Hospice and Palliative Care. She worked as a paramedic, ER nurse, ICCU RN before working in hospice care which she has done for the past twenty-four years.

Leigh Ann Gibbs, RN, has been an RN for 30 years, the last 25 years have been in hospice.  Her passion for nursing over the years included caring for patients from the beginning of life until the end of life. After she earned her RN degree from DMACC, she worked for Palo Alto Co Hospital for a year.  She then worked in Cardiac Pediatric Home Care for 4 years.  Her first 3 years as a hospice nurse was with Hospice of Hope in Dallas County.  She currently is with Mary Greeley Hospice where she has cared for patients in their home for the past 22 years.  Being a hospice nurse has been a big part of her life and she canít imagine doing anything else.

Blair Overton, BA, AS, has been a licensed funeral director since 1992.  Raised in Traer, Iowa, Blair was a 1986 graduate of North Tama High School and continued his education at the University of Iowa, where he graduated with a degree in economics in 1990.  He received his education in mortuary sciences at the New England Institute in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Upon graduation in 1991, he received the Fredrick J. Walker Award for highest academic average and the Founders Award for the most promise of outstanding contribution to funeral service.  While in Boston, Blair worked full time for the J. S. Waterman & Sons Funeral Home.  Returning to Iowa, Blair joined the family business as the fourth generation representing Overton Funeral Homes.  He, along with two partners, purchased the family funeral homes and expanded the operations to the Des Moines area in 2008.   In 2020 Blair, along with his business partner Sara Bering, purchased the Des Moines operations. Blair has served families for thirty years. He has owned and operated funeral homes in small towns and the greater Des Moines metroplex, as well as a cremation society and two cemeteries.  He has witnessed many changes in the end-of-life arena, and now has operated through a pandemic. 

About Our Presenters - Friday, March 31

Ben Woodworth, MSW, CBIST, is the Senior Vice President for Hartworth Consulting. Hartworth Consulting partners with people, organizations, and systems to impact the world for good by creating, managing change, and developing viable real-world solutions to extraordinary and everyday problems. Mr. Woodworth also serves as an Adjunct Instructor in the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa teaching coursework in Human Service Administration, Organizational and Community Practice and Advanced Integrated Practice. He has 20 years of experience in human service agencies serving people who are experiencing disability in a variety of roles with a distinct interested in serving people who are labeled as challenging. Mr. Woodworth obtained his bachelorís degree in Social Work from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa and his masterís degree in Social Work from University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mr. Woodworth has served on a variety of boards and commissions including the College of Direct Supports National Advisory Board, the board of the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators and the Mayo Clinicís Brain Injury Model Systems advisory committee.

Holli Petersen Striegel, LMSW, is a Social Worker in the Emergency Department at UnityPoint-St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids. Holli recently relocated back to Iowa from Phoenix, Arizona, where she spent 6 years at Banner University Medical Center-Phoenix as a Social Worker and Team Lead. Previously, Holli worked with the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa as a Neuro-Resource Facilitator, and Educational Project Manager. Holli has extensive research experience in the areas of brain injury, grief and loss, ambiguous loss, and family caregiving.

Sonya Ackerson, is Founder and CEO of The Sonya Group which has been helping seniors navigate the unique challenges of aging for over a decade. She is passionate about finding seniors and their families the best options for their needs and budget. She is knowledgeable about the diverse issues facing older adults and maintains the highest ethical standards when helping these individuals and their families find appropriate, customized solutions for the future. Sonya always takes a relationship-oriented, hands-on approach rooted in compassion, empathy and expertise. Prior to The Sonya Group, Sonya spent 20 years as a financial advisor. This background helps her find unique solutions for even the most complex situations, while protecting individualsí hard-earned assets.

Natasha Nikkel, BS, MBA, CTRS, is the Director of Community Well-Being at Hearthstone in Pella, Iowa. She has been a certified Rock Steady Boxing coach for 6 years and leads RSB classes twice a week. She has a degree in Health and Exercise Science along with her MBA and marketing certificate. Nikkel leads holistic health and well-being programs across all levels of living at Hearthstone as well as community education programs.

Jon Jordan, is the Director of Community Well-Being at Heritage House in Atlantic, Iowa. Jon has been a certified Rock Steady Boxing coach for six years, and leads his RSB class twice a week.  He is a Certified Personal Trainer and a group fitness instructor at the Nishna Valley YMCA in Atlantic.  Jon has nearly 50 years of experience as a Fitness Professional working with all ages.