Patient advocacy is an important piece of our home care programs. Our medical social workers have worked with patients and their families in various medical situations, including coordination among healthcare providers, end-of-life preparations, and grief counseling. Our MSWs have intimate knowledge of the United States healthcare system and are here to help navigate life's most challenging moments.
What is a Medical Social Worker?
For over 100 years, medical social workers have played an important role in the healthcare system as they have helped individuals to traverse its many complexities.
Also known as healthcare social workers, medical social workers can be found across the healthcare system in different settings, including home care. They assist their patients and their patient's families in managing illnesses, helping with recoveries, or providing end-of-life support. They deliver frontline services as they work one-on-one with their patients. These services can take many forms.
Medical social workers help assess their patients’ specific needs and work with healthcare providers to meet those needs. Some of the needs they ensure are met may include:
As specific needs are determined, medical social workers act as an advocate for the patient and their families. They are directly involved in coordinating the patient’s care whether it be for an acute, chronic, or terminal illness. They do this by working with the patient’s physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other healthcare staff to care for the patient’s needs.
Medical social workers are also there to help ensure that the patient and their families understand the medical diagnosis and possible treatment options. They can answer questions, provide resources, share information, or make referrals to other services. They help ease the confusion and overwhelming nature of the situation that can sometimes occur with a recent diagnosis.
Simply put, medical social workers are there to improve the overall well-being of the patient whether short or long-term.
While in the hospital, patients have 24-hour access to healthcare providers. Nurses, therapists, technicians, and physicians are constantly coming and going to ensure that the patient is moving forward on their road to recovery or towards an end goal.
But, what happens when the patient goes home? That forward momentum and support should not stop once a patient has been discharged. Medical social workers assist in making sure that a plan is in place for whatever home care and support are needed. Having a plan helps to ensure a successful recovery and to avoid being readmitted.
Medical social workers are also available to assist with creating an end-of-life care plan. This helps to ensure that the patient and their family receive the support that they need as they make important final decisions. They assist in peacefully guiding the patient and their family through what can be an emotional and stressful process.
The goal of medical social workers is to collaborate with everyone involved to create an individualized plan that meets the patient’s needs. Here are some of the many ways in which they do that:
How Can Our Patients Benefit from Medical Social Workers?
At Elite Professional Home Care, our highly-skilled medical social workers are dedicated to assisting you and your family to create an individualized plan that meets your specific needs. This helps to ensure that you have the best home care plan possible.
Here are some of the many benefits you can experience while working with our team:
Your medical social worker will be focused on assessing and meeting your individualized needs. They will be the primary coordinator of your home care plan to ensure that everyone involved (you, your family, and your healthcare team) are all on the same page. They will be able to create an immediate and long-term plan. They will also work with you to problem solve quickly should a need arise.
Your medical social worker will be your biggest advocate. They will make sure you feel heard throughout the entire process. They will also ensure that the lines of communication remain open so you and your family can share your specific needs even if they change. Your medical social worker can assist in addressing any barriers (e.g., language or financial) to help you find possible solutions. They can also help ensure that any differences (e.g., cultural or religious) are respected. They are there to work together with you and your team to overcome any hurdles.
As you navigate the complicated healthcare system, it is important that you have someone you can rely on to coordinate your care and stay on top of everything you need. Your medical social worker will do this. They will coordinate your care with everyone involved at home and within the healthcare system. They can assist with setting up caregiving services, transportation, meals, medical equipment, follow-up appointments, counseling, and more. Throughout the process, they will conduct follow-up visits to identify and address any issues and help bridge any gaps. Your medical social worker will also encourage you and your family to take the necessary steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Having a solid support system in place helps to reduce stress after a diagnosis. Your medical social worker is there to be your needed support system. They will be available to support your needs throughout this process. This will help to improve your quality of life and to reduce the need to be admitted to the hospital. They are able to handle any crisis that may pop up. And, they can provide emotional support, which may include referring you or your family to counseling and grief support.
For most, a diagnosis is scary because it is new and unknown. Your medical social worker is there to help educate you and your family. This will ensure that you understand all aspects of what to expect and what treatment options are available. They will be able to connect you to the right resources to help you and your family to get the support you need. Resources might include finding funding options, getting referrals, exploring treatment options, and more. If needed, they are also able to assist you in planning advance care directives.
Let Us Help
Let us help you and your family navigate the healthcare system as you deal with life’s most challenging moments. At Elite Professionals Home Care, we provide assistance to each individual to help maintain their independence and improve quality of life. Contact us today for the best care from the top professionals.