March is Social Worker Month. Social workers are an important part of the team of caregivers for both home care and hospice. They work alongside physicians, nurses, aides, therapists, and volunteers to listen, counsel, and connect individuals and families to resources.
“Social workers are a vital part of the hospice and home health community,” explained OCHCH Regulatory Affairs Director, Beth Foster, RN, BA, CPHQ, CEHCH.
“The work they do to ensure the psychosocial needs of our patients and their families are met is so important to the work we do,” added OCHCH Hospice Regulatory Director, Kathy Royer, RN, MBA, DMin, CHPN, CHPCA, CEHCH.
At Wilson Health Home Care and Hospice in Sydney, Ohio, social workers often connect patients and their families to PASSPORT, Job & Family Services, Social Security, home delivered meals, advance directives, counseling services, transportation, and more.
Foster added, “They provide a wealth of information and resources for patients and their caregivers.”
In the hospice setting, social workers are often the ones who help patients and families through the difficult process of end-of-life planning, while supporting their emotional needs as well.
Joanne Scott, Director at Wilson Home Care and Hospice shared the following story of how a social worker helped a patient and their family:
“A hospice patient wanted to attend his grandson’s high school graduation party with his wife. The patient lived in a nursing home, and his wife was not able to safely transport him. The social worker spent several hours locating a transportation company that would take him and his wife to the party and back. To make the trip possible, she also worked through the safety and legal issues. The patient and his wife had helped raise their grandson. Having them there was not only a special treat for the patient and his wife, it also made the day special for their grandson and the whole family.”
There are more than 680,000 active social workers in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social work is one of the fastest-growing professions in the U.S., with about 110,000 more social workers expected to enter the profession in just seven year.