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What do Healthcare Social Workers do?

Provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family care givers, providing patient education and counseling, and making referrals for other services. May also provide care and case management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare.

What are the Main Tasks of Healthcare Social Workers?

  • Advocate for clients or patients to resolve crises.
  • Collaborate with other professionals to evaluate patients' medical or physical condition and to assess client needs.
  • Refer patient, client, or family to community resources to assist in recovery from mental or physical illness and to provide access to services such as financial assistance, legal aid, housing, job placement or education.
  • Counsel clients and patients in individual and group sessions to help them overcome dependencies, recover from illness, and adjust to life.
  • Utilize consultation data and social work experience to plan and coordinate client or patient care and rehabilitation, following through to ensure service efficacy.
  • Plan discharge from care facility to home or other care facility.
  • Organize support groups or counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting the client or patient.
  • Modify treatment plans to comply with changes in clients' status.
  • Monitor, evaluate, and record client progress according to measurable goals described in treatment and care plan.
  • Identify environmental impediments to client or patient progress through interviews and review of patient records.
  • Supervise and direct other workers providing services to clients or patients.
  • Develop or advise on social policy and assist in community development.
  • Investigate child abuse or neglect cases and take authorized protective action when necessary.
  • Oversee Medicaid- and Medicare-related paperwork and recordkeeping in hospitals.
  • Plan and conduct programs to combat social problems, prevent substance abuse, or improve community health and counseling services.
  • Conduct social research to advance knowledge in the social work field.
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