With the booming demand for health services, the healthcare industry is expanding more than ever. Hospitals are leveraging technology to increase patient care, while health workers pursue higher education to bag promotions. Simultaneously, authorities are promoting social work in healthcare to address underlying concerns and glitches in the system. From fighting deadly diseases, ensuring optimal treatment, to overcoming resource shortage – the healthcare sector has a lot on its plate.
Social work in healthcare provides the knowledge and skills that these organizations can use to assist their patients. It helps patients overcome personality and social difficulties while trying to manage their symptoms. These social workers put every effort into improving a patient’s well-being, especially in vulnerable populations. The overall goal is to reduce the negative consequences of illnesses by educating patients about prevention measures.
Healthcare social workers show concern for all components of healthcare – mental illnesses, chronic illnesses, patience assistance, legislative issues, etc.
Therefore, healthcare social workers nurture healthy lifestyles, disease prevention, and overcome barriers to access. In short, they show concern for all components of healthcare – mental illnesses, chronic illnesses, patience assistance, legislative issues, etc. If you want to discover this further, have a look below. Here we are unfolding five ways how the emerging role of social work is improving healthcare.
1. Patient Care & Support
The services of social workers are no secret to anyone. They work tirelessly to protect children, fight injustice, and help people in everyday life. However, when it comes to health, workers need more advanced education and practice to make contributions. Hence, consider completing masters in social work online to boost the delivery of health services. It lets you work as a social advocate, patient educator, or care coordinator to assess and support patients.
You can begin by assessing the patient’s needs or interview them and their families. A thorough understanding of the patient will help you find the best medical facility and treatment for them. Suppose you prefer working with baby boomers, coordinate home care services for them. Social workers arrange equipment rentals, transportation to follow up doctor visits, and sometimes even raise funds. In underprivileged communities, these workers fill out paperwork and get resources to support families.
2. Advise on Health Policy
US infant mortality rates are three times higher than every other developed country, while obesity is also rising. These substantial disparities in healthcare need intervention from a third party, someone who can work with policymakers. Surprisingly enough, social workers are allies to public health professionals, working to improve healthcare standards. They look after legislative issues in the system, such as the shortage of resources and workers.
Alongside this, they advise on healthcare policies. If a single nurse assists eight patients, they will suggest reducing it to five patients, ensuring quality care. Similarly, they are taking initiatives to introduce technology in this sector and free health workers from administrative tasks.
3. Host Community Programs
Usually, health problems are higher in rural areas. It could be due to no access to clean water or a nutritional diet, but the lack of awareness is significant. Underprivileged communities are unaware of hygiene practices, family planning, and primary health principles. Social workers try to address these problems by hosting community programs. They choose a specific community and closely work with them to spread awareness.
These community programs cover disease prevention techniques and hygiene practices. They also communicate the concerns associated with increasing population while discussing the importance of family planning. If you have sufficient funds available, offer free immunization to children and give away medicines for free.
4. Bridges Inequality Gaps
Amid staggering health concerns, social workers make sure individuals and their families don’t suffer from socioeconomic barriers. People who can have enough money to pay for health services can fight illnesses while others keep suffering. It is the harsh reality of our society. Fortunately, social workers have unique skills that can build better and equal health systems. Firstly, they collaborate with government institutes to make health services accessible to everyone.
Simultaneously, they pressure the government to increase public spending on this sector and free up resources for other uses. Besides, social workers conduct several fund-raising campaigns to support patients with chronic illnesses on an individual level.
5. Patient Counseling & Education
Undoubtedly, hospital stays are never pleasant. Alongside physical pain and injures, some patients also suffer from mental trauma. And doctors or practitioners don’t have time to comfort the patients. As a result, social workers help patients and their families cope with the situation by providing emotional support. They educate them about the illness and treatment procedures to ease their stress. If a person is suffering from extreme anxiety, these works welcome them for individual counseling sessions.
Underprivileged people are clueless about how health systems work, and social workers take the responsibility to educate them. They inform people about entitlements and community resources to alleviate the financial burden. Similarly, social workers familiarize underprivileged communities with health insurance covers as there are special offers for them.
The daily challenges and responsibilities of social workers are increasing with the evolving healthcare sector. Patients seek assistance from these workers to help with treatment decisions and educate them about relevant procedures. Therefore, social work also involves patient care and advocacy. They are making decisions regarding healthcare – new policies, patient counseling, etc. to improve health services delivery.
Have you worked with a healthcare social worker?
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