The Role of the Social Worker

By June 25, 2008Uncategorized

As a Social Worker, I know what qualities I need to possess.  I need to advocate for, educate, and assist my client, resident, patient, or consumer.  Not only are these qualities necessary, they are constantly tested, changed, and improved so I can be the “go-to” person.   If I think back, I can remember exactly the reason I became a Social Worker.  And, it certainly wasn’t for the big fat paycheck!  Of course, I wanted to help people and that has not changed to this day.  Unfortunately, not all Social Workers sustain this philosophy.

I completely understand the over worked, under paid, and under appreciated Social Worker. I have definitely been there.  I know it’s easy to lose sight of why one became a Social Worker in the first place, when all of the other “stuff” gets in the way.  However, as a Social Worker I know I have a duty to serve the population with whom I work.  This idea seems to be lacking in some health care arenas these days.

I had a woman call me recently with some questions regarding help in paying for her husband’s care.  He had been in the hospital for over two months and they were now telling her that he needed to discharge, but was unsafe to go home.  This woman was crying as she told me that she would only be able to pay for her husband’s nursing home care for about 6 months before completely draining her savings.  She had been given a list a SNF’s by a Social Worker at the hospital, but no guidance beyond that. 

So, I asked, “What about ALTCS?”  To which she replied, “What’s that?”  I almost fell out of my chair. In over two months that her husband had been in acute care, NO ONE had even thought to mention ALTCS!!! This poor woman was not only dealing with the fact that her husband would never come home again, but also the financial hardship it would create.  All the Social Worker had to do was take a little time to let her know there is assistance available.  This woman was so appreciative that someone explained that this was not a lost cause. I told her about ALTCS and the services it provides.  I explained that her husband could get the care he needs, but that she could also be protected her from having to pinch pennies for the rest of her life.

I’m not saying that we all have to be experts on everything.  But, it is extremely important that we know what resources to provide to those in need.  Continued education and networking with others in our field is the key to keeping our database up to date and available.  Instead of resisting new ideas, embrace them; you never know who, when, and how, you might have to advocate for, educate, and assist someone new.  And really, isn’t that why you became a Social Worker in the first place??

I know I did.