March is National Social Work Month: Meet EveryStep's Laura Courtney-Brubaker

March is National Social Work Month, an observance first created in 1963 and formally signed into law in 1984. At EveryStep, social workers are essential to delivering care and services to Iowans.

“Supporting” and “caring” are two words Laura Courtney-Brubaker often uses to describe her work as a social worker at EveryStep’s Kavanagh House hospice home in Des Moines. Those words also help describe why she loves what she does.

“I feel incredibly honored to be a part of the final journey for the patients in our care, and to be here to support them and their families, says Laura. “It is helpful to work with a supportive team here at Kavanagh House and the other social workers at EveryStep are also very supportive.”

Laura has been an EveryStep Hospice social worker for over two years, but her career of caring stretches back further. Prior to EveryStep, Laura worked at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, and before that, at Children & Families of Iowa.

Listening to the life experiences of those she cares for is one of the things Laura enjoys most about her hospice work. “I receive great joy and satisfaction when I have the opportunity to hear stories from our patients and their loved ones. The funny stories, the difficult stories, they all teach us about the person we are caring for and help us to provide the best care possible to them.”

Providing the best care involves listening to the goals and wishes of the patients and families. Laura has many memories of helping to make end-of-life hopes realized. One that stands out recently for her is having the opportunity to help a patient and family achieve their goal of returning home, with family providing care.

“We are here to support you and your loved ones as you navigate the journey to end of life. This support may be provided through assistance with advance directives, financial needs and community resources, or it may be emotional support, calm presence, or a cup of coffee after a difficult night,” says Laura.

“It is an honor to be here for you and your loved ones, however that may be.”

If you are interested in joining the EveryStep team, visit If you or someone you know needs care or support, complete the confidential "Find Care" form at The form sends a message to EveryStep staff who then follow up with a phone call. It's a great way to start a conversation and get answers with no cost or commitment. EveryStep can connect the individual to its own programs and services that may be helpful, as well as services offered by other organizations and providers in the community.