By BEN ADEL | Special to the Palisadian-Post
There might come a time when you or your loved one finds that in-home care is needed, whether due to an illness, surgery or simply from the effects of aging. While it has been proven that convalescing in the home has many positives for personal recovery and comfort, it also comes with new responsibilities for family caregivers.
Home health social workers can help navigate the demands of in-home care with family caregivers and doctors, and they also champion personal issues that might arise. Professionally licensed social workers that work in the home are qualified, background checked and trained professionals with the same credentials as those working in clinics.
Types of Social Workers in Home Care
A licensed clinical social worker is a master’s-level social worker with professional training in mental health. A LCSW must fulfill state requirements in order to obtain licensure. They are also required to pass a national exam. Then, a LCSW can provide counseling and psychotherapy as needed.
A medical social worker handles a specialized area of social work. An MSW normally works in a hospital, skilled nursing facility or long-term care facility. They work closely with patients and their families, helping people to function the best way they can in their environment.
Social workers often see clients who face life-threatening diseases or social problems. Their specialization in counseling and educating patients during difficult illnesses, hospitalizations or medical emergencies is often an essential part of their job.
The Role of the Social Worker in Home Care
A social worker typically begins their interaction with a patient at the hospital. They work together with the medical staff and caregiver(s) who will be helping the patient to:
- Devise a plan of recovery
- Navigate a complicated healthcare system
- Assist with any social and emotional issues impacting your loved one’s health
- Assist in monitoring patient health conditions
- Document findings and reporting back to the patient’s healthcare team
The objective of a social worker is to assist the patient in the transition to in-home care as an advocate to all the resources available, in order for the patient to return to an improved quality of life, regardless of health complications.
A licensed clinical social worker in a healthcare setting encompasses many different duties. They can:
- Help organize services such as medical equipment and transportation to doctor’s appointments
- Help educate patients and families on entitlements, healthcare coverage and community resources
- Assist in filling out paperwork
- Locate family support resources
- One-on-one counseling
Healthcare social workers assist with a variety of different patients who are facing issues such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart failure, diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as those transitioning from hospitals to home.
Social worker services often fall under the umbrella of home health care. Home health care qualification typically requires:
- The patient must be under the care of a doctor who has included a medical social worker in the care plan.
- The home health care agency you decide to use must be approved by Medicare.
- Patients must be a citizen of the United States or have been a legal resident for at least five years.
Every patient has the right to be treated with respect and dignity when it comes to decisions regarding their healthcare. A licensed social worker has the knowledge to help advocate on behalf of your loved one, providing an experienced and knowledgeable voice to your loved one’s interests.
Whether it’s providing links with community resources or planning long-term support, social workers can help offer a wide range of services needed to help your loved one stay happy and healthy in a place they recognize and feel most comfortable in: their own home.
Ben Adel is founder of Luxe Homecare, a Pacific Palisades-based homecare and home health agency offering Medicare-approved services in Los Angeles, Orange County and Riverside. They offer round-the-clock support, including licensed clinical social workers, medical social workers, physical therapists, registered nurses (RN and LVN) and more. Background checks are required for all staff to give you and your loved ones the peace of mind you deserve. Contact the Luxe team at 310-459-3535 or visit luxehomecare.com.
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