Social Worker Empowers Patients to Lead Fulfilling Lives After Life-Altering Diagnoses

Thanks to philanthropy, the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute’s first outpatient social worker supports the social and emotional needs of patients with neurological disabilities through unique programs.

As the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute’s inaugural clinical social worker in the outpatient setting, Joey Nesler, MSW, LCSW, supports the social and emotional needs of Hoag patients with neurological disabilities, including Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and more. Her position is funded by philanthropy, which affords Joey the capacity to build unique offerings and programs intended to help patients live their best lives.   
“Hoag has recognized that the diagnosis of any of the neurological disabilities significantly impacts the patient,” said Joey. “Their life changes from that day forward, and their families are impacted as well.”
She helps patients and their families adapt to these changes by making sure they get what they need. Whether that need is physical, psychosocial, emotional, or medical, Joey helps patients navigate complex social systems—like applying for disability—and guides them to the right resources. 

A trained psychotherapist, Joey also leads support groups for patients and their family members. “The group setting is very healing for these patients, and there is a huge need,” she said. “Patients often tell me it’s the one place they can go where they don’t have to explain their symptoms. They share resources with one another and talk about the different ways they cope.” 
One of the aspects Joey appreciates most about her role is the freedom to implement new therapeutic avenues that can enhance patients’ well-being and enrich their lives. She recently established Tuesdays at the Museum, where patients and their caregivers or family members meet at different museums in Orange County and benefit from visual stimulation, creative distraction, socialization, and exercise. She also leads Living with Intention, a workbook-guided curriculum that walks patients through the 6 Pillars of Brain Health, developed by Hoag’s Dr. Mindy Bixby, and supports them in thriving after a diagnosis.   
With other offerings in the works, Joey is grateful to the generous donors who make her work possible and for the opportunity to support patients in this way.   
“We try to give patients hope,” Joey said. “It’s so important for them to know that they are not alone and that there’s a lot of good life left to be lived.”


Read More Stories



Sign up for our Newsletter

Thank you for subscribing to Hoag Hospital Foundation's E-newsletter!