- Hospital social workers usually take the role of direct patient care, which includes discharge planning activities, coordinating community support systems, relocation of patients, assisting patients and the families understanding their diagnosis, and crisis intervention/counseling services. (Judd & Sheffield, 2010, p. 863-864)
- Low health literacy is associated with poorer health outcomes and worse quality of care. (Liechty, 2011, p. 99)
- More and more managers in hospitals are obtaining degrees in fields other than social work, which makes it necessary to learn how these managers understanding of professional abilities, skills, values, and ethics effect the opportunities for hospital social workers. (Judd & Sheffield, 2010, p. 867-868)
- Hospital social workers are able to design programs that focus on wellness and health education, and can work with employers to afford financial coverage for these programs to be provided to employees. (Judd & Sheffield, 2010, p. 868)
- Social workers have the ability to help patients and families increase their health literacy knowledge by performing casework interactions and counseling to ensure patients receive the right information, which they can also understand. (Liechty, 2011, p. 104)
- Social workers can lead initiatives to increase health literacy in hospital settings such as implementation of plain language (instead of using medial terminologies) in diagnoses and explanation of diagnoses, hospital staff training in health literacy, screening of patients for low health literacy, and referrals to patients of low health literacy for counseling and assistance. (Liechty, 2011, p. 105)
- Medical social work incorporates a psychological perspective, fueled by insurance reimbursement, and case management, including discharge planning, that has been driven by cost controls and managed care. (Di
Nitto & McNeece, 2008, p.195)
DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.
Judd, R., & Sheffield, S. (2010). Hospital Social Work: Contemporary Roles and Professional Activities. Social Work in Health Care, 49(9), 856-871. doi:10.1080/00981389.2010.499825
Liechty, J. (2011). Health Literacy: Critical Opportunities for Social Work Leadership in Health Care and Research. Health & Social Work, 99-107.