Social Worker Profile: Diane Malek, Clinical Social Worker

His Dream was to take his girlfriend to Las Vegas. After five days of showing her the town, he returned home beaming. Diane Malek referred her first Dreamer more than 20 years ago, but she remembers his happiness after Dream Foundation fulfilled his final Dream like it was yesterday.

As a Clinical Social Worker in the San Francisco Bay Area, Malek has been privileged to care for children and adults transitioning from curative to palliative or end-of-life care for nearly 30 years. Through her work, she learned of Dream Foundation and its mission to provide final Dreams for individuals 18 and older with a life expectancy of less than one year.

“Adults nearing the end of their lives are looking for completion and comfort. They are thinking about their legacies and the well-being of the people they will be leaving behind,” shared Malek. “This year Dream Foundation enabled three of my patients to return to their home countries, back to where their families are living. Helping an adult go back home is such a completion of the circle of life.”

“I think about Dream Foundation and how they help an adult-young, middle-aged, and older-have legacy-making moments and the benefits those have for their entire family. A trip that leaves positive memories makes people feel more connected. Everyone approaching the end of life can benefit from that,” she added.

“We always have in mind that quality of life includes the best possible symptom management and I think we are now at a place to expand that idea to include helping people really have peace of mind. The person in our care may be reluctant to ask for a little extra something because they are already worried about being a burden to the ones they love. If we can step in and make something happen that is not a cost to their caregivers, everyone benefits,” Malek said.

She observed, “As staff, when we know there is nothing we can do to stop the dying process from coming, it is so important to find a way to envelop our patients with the people they love or place they really want to be at. Dream Foundation helps us do that.