How To Utilize Hospital Social Work Services: Long-Term Care

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Hospital Social Work Services

Hospital social work services are available to all inpatients and some outpatients at no extra charge. Consult your hospital for details on any additional costs for services. These services can help patients and their families cope with the reality of an injury or illness by offering counseling, referrals to support groups and community resources, and by helping to make arrangements for post hospital care at home or in a long-term care facility.

Seniors in particular may benefit from the practical and emotional assistance that hospital social workers offer. From admission to discharge, social workers can help patients and their families adjust to the hospital setting. They can help connect patients with needed service providers, such as mental health professionals, home health care providers, legal aid services, and countless other community and government agencies. Helping patients deal with the stress of separation from their home and family, the potential need for surgery, and the reality of long-term illnesses and rehabilitation is also part of the social worker’s job.

For families, social workers are particularly helpful because they can serve as a link between the health-care team and the family–helping families to understand and deal with the patient’s condition. In the case of terminal illness, social workers are there to offer families the opportunity to express their anger and fear. They can also offer assistance with financial arrangements by providing information about possible sources of financial aid.

Hospital social workers frequently serve as discharge planners, who help patients and their families arrange post-hospital care, which can include home care or a transfer to a long-term care facility. They can offer information and recommendations for all levels of home and facility care, which can help patients and their families deal with the emotional and financial realties of post-hospital care.

In order to receive hospital social work services as an inpatient, you simply need to ask your physician or a nurse to have the social worker visit you. If you are an outpatient who would like the assistance of a hospital social worker, you can call the social work services department of your local hospital. Social workers are available to all patients in order to help ease the stress of an illness or injury; their services can help to make a difficult time much easier for you and your family.

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