Maxxine Rattner, a palliative care Social Worker at Kensington Hospice was recognized as an Emerging Leader by the Social Work Hospice Palliative Network (SWHPN) in the United States in February 2017.
“Congratulations to Maxxine. This award recognizes her commitment to both outstanding social work practice with families and also her desire to make scholarly contributions to the field of hospice and palliative care.” – Susan Blacker, SWHPN board member
Following a decade-long career in HIV/AIDS community development and public policy, Maxxine graduated from her MSW at the University of Toronto in 2011. It was during her first-year MSW practicum on a busy in-patient oncology floor that she discovered the intimate, hard, and inspired work of palliative and end-of-life care. After graduating, Maxxine became the founding social worker at Kensington Hospice, the only residential hospice in downtown Toronto providing end-of-life care to adults with prognoses of less than 3 months. For the last five and half years, she has attended to the complex psychosocial and practical support needs of patients and their families, and coordinated and implemented the hospice’s bereavement support program. Since entering the field, Maxxine has been actively involved in student education at the hospice, and with the University of Toronto’s Division of Palliative Care, and its Centre for Inter-Professional Education Working Group on Dying and Death. In 2014, she completed a post-graduate Certificate in End-of-Life Care from Smith College School for Social Work.
While continuing her work in hospice, Maxxine is currently pursuing her PhD in Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she is focusing on patient, family and clinician experiences of psychosocial suffering at end of life. She aims to ignite dialogue about what she sees as the paradox and dilemma so central to our work as palliative care providers: the expectation that we can and must relieve suffering, and our inability to necessarily do so, because dying is intrinsically hard. She has guest-lectured and presented at conferences nationally and internationally, and also recently published a paper, titled Rethinking suffering: Allowing for suffering that is intrinsic at end of life.