After retiring from being a school social worker for 21 years and taking time off to spend with her family, Jan knew it was time for something new. As she walked through the booths at the Iroquois County Fair, she wasn’t exactly looking, but opportunity came knocking anyway. By happenstance, she met Lonnie Dirks (now-retired from Iroquois Memorial Hospice) who would then point her towards a position at Iroquois Memorial Hospice as a part time social worker.
Jan Elliott has been with Iroquois Memorial Hospice since 1998. She originally chose a career path in social work because she liked that way that social work looks at the system. Instead of trying to figure out what is wrong with the individual that is having problems, a social worker looks at what is wrong and can be fixed with the system to help the individual. Not only is Jan a Certified Licensed Social Worker, she is also certified in end of life care by Kankakee Community College. Growing up, Jan’s father was a hospital chaplain. So, when the time came for her, joining hospice felt natural. As a social worker for Iroquois Memorial Hospice, Jan helps to coordinate non-medical care for hospice patients. That includes everything from assistance with insurance and FMLA to counseling, travel, and respite arrangements. She is also the lead social worker in the We Honor Veterans Program for our hospice. Iroquois Memorial Hospice is ranked 3 Star out of 4 Star Level for the extensive training participation and services provided for our veterans. Out of all of the aspects of her position though, probably the most rewarding is doing the little things that make the individual more comfortable and happy.
When Jan is not tending to the needs of others, she has quite a list of hobbies to fill her time. She lives in Gilman with her husband of 37 years, John -who is the Editor of the Gilman Star. Their children, Erin and Andrew, are grown and they have four grandchildren. She has been a member of the Gilman Library Board for 25 years and has been singing alto for her church choir for 20 years! She loves traveling and going on cruises all over the world – the Panama Canal being her favorite. Another hobby she enjoys is following her lineage and family history. Jan has been able to trace her lineage back five generations to Scandinavia and even met some of her distant family when she visited. On her husband’s side, they were able to trace the Elliott name back four generations and find a town in Scotland where many of the Elliotts originated.
Jan said “I believe that everyone is entitled to a peaceful ending, it gives me a great sense of purpose knowing that I can be a tool to help provide that.” Over 20 years, she said the most notable changes to hospice have been – externally, the way people view hospice, society has become more accepting and supporting of hospice; internally, the new computer system implemented allows hospice to keep better track of the patients’ care and conditions.
From all of us at IMH, thank you Jan for all you do. You are a true Superstar in Healthcare!