Social Work in Health

Social Work is a professional service that assists people by helping them cope with issues in their everyday lives, manage relationships, and address personal and family problems.

Social Work in Health is a health discipline dedicated to improving the health and well being of individuals, families and communities; as such, we are an essential part of health care teams. We help individuals manage life’s most difficult demands, assisting patients and families who are negotiating complex systems. We identify and assist patients in accessing necessary resources to optimize health outcomes as well as in dealing with challenging circumstances.

What Services Do Social Workers Provide?

Social workers in health care commonly provide individual, couple, group and family counselling; as well as crisis intervention, patient/family education, resource referral and advocacy. Social workers can provide psychosocial care and other services to the patient and family. A care plan is developed for each patient/family based on a skilful psychosocial assessment. Consultation with medical and allied health professionals is implicit in developing and implementing treatment plans. Social work services can include some of the following:

Psychosocial Assessment: screen for high-risk; determine need/eligibility for services; identify strengths/coping capacities; assess informal network of support.

Counselling/Psychotherapy: assess role of emotional and social/cultural factors on health status and behaviour, and provide appropriate intervention; enhance coping capacities related to feelings of loss, grief and role changes; assess mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression and anger management, and intervene when appropriate.

Patient/Family Education: educate patients and families to facilitate understanding of hospital processes; increase awareness of illness/disability on relationships; and facilitate life transitions when health conditions require a modified lifestyle.

Adjustment to Illness/Disability: enhance coping capacities related to feelings of loss, grief and role change; assess anxiety, depression, and/or antisocial/maladaptive behaviours, and intervene as appropriate; provide an understanding of impact of illness/disability on family relationships; facilitate linkages with support systems.