When discussing post-acute rehab, we meet many types of professionals in the sub-acute care team. While the social worker is not exactly a medical professional, he or she is trained to help a patient to get the best medical care.
For many reasons, the social worker is an interesting dynamic in the sub-acute care team.
For instance, the social worker can:
- Suggest and encourage change.
- Offer help in getting processes moving.
- Present new options.
- Help a person fight for their rights.
- Facilitate referrals to other professionals.
7 Practical Examples, Ways a Social Worker Can Help
There are many feilds of specialization in social work.
What can a hospital social worker do for stroke survivors, for example? They are trained in supporting rehab needs, and geriatric needs.
A clinical social worker is responsible for different tasks. Those are closer to diagnosis of mental or emotional illness.
Practically speaking, for post-acute patients who need rehab, help is needed with:
- Getting contact information. For example, for a person who needs vocational rehab services.
- Advice, such as, regarding dealing with the insurance company.
- Additionally, they advise patients on disability benefits. For example, from the Social Security Administration Office of Disability.
- Discovering leisure and skill-developing resources in your locality. Yes, through those activities a patient can hope to continue onto education or go back to work.
- Dealing with depression. Certainly, this applies for a patient/stroke survivor. This can be facilitated through a social worker.
- A patient can get reading material, find out about websites and self-educate in other ways. Of course, a social worker should have a collection of resources.
- Give help making different plans for a person in rehab, to get used to an alternative lifestyle. The plans may change as the person’s abilities and resources change. Each person’s unchanging values must be honored and upheld. However, their strengths and weaknesses probably will change with time.
Using Optimal Timing to the Patient’s Benefit
It is important for people to be aware. There are many things a professional can do for the patient. Timing is everything. A study in Germany looked at how people benefit from a social worker’s help. The conclusion was that when help is accepted at the ‘best’ time it is most beneficial.
When a person is at the point of discharge from hospital they are at a crossroads. From hospital to rehab to recovery, is a long road. Every little bit of support and helpful advice a person can gather, will help ease that journey.
How Many Year Did Your Social Worker Study for?
Well, geriatric social workers need to study quite a lot in order to qualify. Getting a bachelor’s degree would mean 4 years of study. While a masters would require 6 years of study. Opting for becoming a clinical social worker means 7-8 years of studying. On top of that, every social worker needs State licensure. They also need 3,000 hours of ‘supervised fieldwork’.
Prior to hospital discharge, a stroke survivor meets a hospital social worker. A hospital social worker needs to study to obtain a bachelor’s degree in social work. They might also need a graduate degree. And, they need to get and maintain State licensure, as well.
The Sub-Acute Care Team Series
This article joins the series of the articles about the members who make up the sub-acute care team. These include: the physiatrist, the neurologist, the rehabilitation nurse, the physical therapist, the occupational therapist. In addition, you can read about the speech-language pathologist and the dietitian.
Hospital social workers can give support. The can give encouragement to patients and their families in times of challenge. Knowing about how they can assist, enables a person to get the best benefit out of their professional’s skills and knowledge. Hopefully, the help and information will enable the patient to make as full a recovery as possible under the circumstances.