Medical social workers play a critical role in helping patients navigate through healthcare systems. Many who are in this profession always find satisfaction by offering the needed assistance to patients. It is all about making the lives of patients easier; in a bid to promote human dignity and happiness.
These social health experts perform their work through a select list of daily duties. The following information highlights the top duties of medical social workers on any given day.
1. Advocating for social needs of the patient
Patients who are going through tough times may have issues with finances and even literacy. This may affect how they follow through with the orders from medical officers. Social workers will stand in the gap and advocate for their patients accordingly. The workers will highlight issues of limited resources so that a suitable action plan can be made. Many times, patients do not have the knowledge or strength to sort out these challenges and through a good medical social worker, they can find some reprieve.
2. Offering mental health services like counseling
A well qualified medical social worker will help evaluate a patient to assess their mental well-being. They will also offer vital counseling services to patients. Also, if need be, they will recommend further action if the patient needs to see a psychiatrist. This mental support plays a vital role in helping medical teams manage the overall case better. In many cases, the patients will need some mental support services to improve their coping mechanism. However, the right medical social worker to undertake such mental evaluation is one who is qualified with a masters degree in social work.
3. Organizing support groups in the community
A medical social worker will work closely with patients who are going through treatment for chronic conditions like cancer. Their work will be to support these patients in regaining their confidence. Treatments like chemotherapy can leave patients feeling excluded due to low self esteem. Social workers are able to organize support groups to bring together people who are in the same boat. Through interaction and sharing, patients will make friends and learn how to reintegrate back to society. The social workers therefore give the right support services through the establishments of connections for patients and their families.
4. Transformation through macro-level interventions
Highly trained medical social workers will hone their skills in developing macro-level changes through social interventions. Here, these experts can liaise with organizations or groups to improve the lives of their patients. For example, the workers can propose policy changes to create recreation facilitates where there are none to promote outdoor activity to their clients. Other interventions may include talking to players in the transport industry to promote transportation for their patients. There are so many interventions that can be crafted at a macro-level to have a micro-level effect. All these are duties of a medical social worker.
5. Educating patients
Patients who are educated will have better health outcomes. Patients need to know what their discharge paperwork entails. They also need to know how to obtain and use their medication. In addition, they should be sensitized on the need to make follow-up visits as recommended by medical officers. This patient education cannot be delivered by doctors and nurses effectively due to workload and other time factors. Social workers spend the time to educate their clients on these vital elements.
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