Hospital’s Social Workers help patients and their families understand a particular illness, work through the emotions of a diagnosis, and provide counseling about the decisions that need to be made. Social workers are also essential members of interdisciplinary hospital teams. Hospital social workers use case management skills to help patients and their families address and resolve the social, financial and psychological problems related to their health condition.
Job functions that a Social Worker might perform within the hospital include:
• Initial screening and evaluation of patient and families.
• Comprehensive psychosocial assessment of patients.
• Helping patients and families understand the illness and treatment options, as well as consequences of various treatments or treatment refusal.
• Helping patients/families adjust to hospital admission, possible role changes, and exploring emotional/social responses to illness and treatment.
• Educating hospital staff on patient psychosocial issues.
• Promoting communication and collaboration among health care team members.
• Coordinating patient discharge and continuity of care planning.
• Educating patients on the roles of health care team members, assisting patients and families in communicating with one another and to members of health care team by interpreting information.
• Facilitating decision making on behalf of patients and families.
• Diagnosing underlying mental illness, providing or making referrals for individual, family, and group psychotherapy.