Social workers play a critical role in hospital settings by helping patients and families address the impact of illness and treatment.
Tremendous stress often stems from hospitalizations that are sudden and, at times, related to catastrophic illness or injury. Stressors such as decreased personal control, information overload, change in functional ability and reduced financial resources, can lead to a range of emotional responses such as, anxiety, anger, and depression.
Social workers, as part of the health care team, provide assessment and appropriate interventions to aid the patient in achieving optimum recovery/rehabilitation and quality of life. This includes maximizing the benefit the patient and family receive from their medical treatments and transitioning to risk-reduced, timely discharge. Social workers often have specific expertise in areas such as general medicine, emergency work, pediatrics, geriatrics, oncology, neurology, psychiatry, and palliative and end-of-life care.
Core Social Work Skills Include The Ability To:
What Services Do Social Workers Provide?
Social workers in health care commonly provide individual, couple, group and family counselling, crisis intervention, patient/family education, resource referral and advocacy, in inpatient and outpatient settings. Because social workers can provide both psychosocial care and other services to the patient and family, duplication of services is reduced. A mutually developed care plan for each patient/family is based on skillful psychosocial assessment. Consultation with medical and allied health professionals is implicit in developing and implementing treatment plans.
When Should A Patient Be Referred To A Social Worker?
How Do Social Workers Contribute To The Overall Goals Of Healthcare Organizations?
Social workers have training in human behaviour, group process, teamwork, communication, negotiation and research. These skills can help further the broader goals of health care organizations.