q ROLE OF A SOCIAL WORKER IN THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM - Harcourt Health

ROLE OF A SOCIAL WORKER IN THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

Social work, as the name suggests, is the profession that brings about social change. It empowers individuals as well as communities and increases cohesion between different communities. It involves the knowledge of human behavior as well as the various cultural, economic, and social norms that govern our lives as a whole and as a person. People who do social work get to work with individuals, families, children, older people, and entire communities to bring change.

Social workers are the people who want to bring about positive change and uplift other people. They are the ones who try continuously and incessantly to enhance the well-being of communities and ensure that they get the necessities of life. They work for the rights of the people who are neglected, oppressed, vulnerable, and those living in poverty. Depending on the work that they do, they can even affect the policies that govern a specific area or a particular community. They are the enforcers of social values and principles.

Social workers work with different organizations and institutes. They may work for the government or any private organization. They can work for a non-profit organization, and they may wish to join a healthcare institute or a clinic. They can even opt for research work and work on the bigger picture.

Social workers are highly trained individuals who work to eliminate social injustice and break down all the barriers that stop their clients from having a meaningful and happy life. These barriers may include substance abuse, poverty, unemployment, racism, and more. If this is what you need, you have to train and educate yourself. You can enroll yourself in online social work masters programs and work for the betterment of the people.

HEALTHCARE SOCIAL WORKERS 

Healthcare social work is one of the most critical fields. Healthcare social workers help patients through a plethora of problems and tight spots. These problems can include the non-availability of healthcare facilities, medicines, helping someone recover from an illness, and more. They provide patients with the guidance and support that they need to navigate the system. They also sometimes act as the patient’s advocates to make sure that the patient is getting his rights. They may even work with doctors and nurses and refer patients to them in times of need.

GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM

The first thing that healthcare social workers do is to find out what the patients need. They visit the patients at their place and talk to their families and their healthcare providers to get a better picture. Once the interview is over, and they have all the information they need, then they try to find out the solutions to the patients’ problems.

ENSURING SERVICE

Healthcare social workers also ensure that the patients are getting the services that they need like home healthcare, transportation to and from the healthcare institutes, regular visits to the doctor, and more. They take the patients to the healthcare facilities and get them admitted if they are not capable of doing it themselves. They find out where the best services are and how to get the patients there. They take care of any paperwork for the patients. They even find support groups and other related resources, not just for the patients but also their families.

EDUCATION

One of the most important tasks of a healthcare social worker is to make sure that their communities and clients are up to date about the services that they need. They conduct classes for patients as well as their close ones. They give information about Diabetes, Alzheimer’s management, how to live with cancer, how to take care of someone with cancer, childcare, and more. They also conduct classes on mental healthcare for patients and their families so that they can handle the pressure.

PATIENT’S RIGHTS

If you are a healthcare social worker, that doesn’t mean that you will only take care of the patient’s health. It also means that you will be responsible for their rights. A healthcare social worker will inform their patients about their rights that include:

a. The right to make patients own, well-informed decisions about their health.

b. The right to get respect and dignity while in the healthcare process.

c. The right to select a doctor.

d. The right to ask numerous questions and get their answers.

For this purpose, healthcare social workers coordinate and collaborate with various professionals like doctors, nurses, healthcare management individuals, and also patients and their families. They have excellent communication skills and the power of empathy.

TRANSLATION AND INTERPRETATION

It is one of the roles of a healthcare social worker that most people don’t know. If they are working with patients who are not natives of the land and do not speak the local language, they act as their translators and interpreters so they can communicate with healthcare professionals and vice versa. They make sure that the patients and doctors understand each other, and there is no communication gap in between.

COUNSELING

Another critical role of a healthcare social worker is counseling the patients. A lot of patients are confused, angry, frustrated, scared, and do not understand what is going on. It is the social workers’ job to counsel the patients as to their best options and help them select the best one. In this regard, they regularly work with patients and their families, so everybody knows what is going on.

CASE MANAGEMENT

Healthcare social workers handle cases of their patients. They keep a fully-detailed history and communicate it to the healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses who are treating them. They keep a record of the treatments, medications, and tests that the patients are going through and the expenses incurred by the patient, among other things.

CONCLUSION

Contrary to popular beliefs, a healthcare social worker has a multi-pronged job, and they need to take care of various aspects of a patient’s healthcare at all times. It is a robust and rewarding job. If putting a smile on someone’s face and helping them get through tough times is what you want to do, then a healthcare social work career is just right for you.