5 Setting that Social Workers Work in within the Health-Care Setting – Allie Dashow

  1. There is a strong need for social workers within the health care system. For example, people whose kidneys are failing typically go on a wait list in order to receive a transplant. Because this can take such a toll on a patient as well as his or her family, nephrology social workers will help those suffering and address their physical, emotional, and social stresses. That includes dealing with the financial burdens, “interruptions in employment, changes in social functioning, demanding and time-consuming treatment regimens, and shortened life expectancy” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 208).

2. We all know professionals in the health-care setting who say the wrong thing to the wrong person.That is not to bash medical professionals, but to point out that there is a need for people who know the right and wrong things to say. That is where social workers come in in regards to the LGBTQ community. There are health clinics out there who have social workers whom are culturally sensitive to help a patient’s physical as well as emotional well being. They do this by offering many types of support groups as well as individual counseling (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 208).

3. Interestingly enough, not as many people are admitted into hospitals today as they used to be and their stays aren’t as long. Unfortunately, though, this is not due to an increase in people’s health but due to the fact that many procedures are now done in an outpatient setting. Therefore, patients who are admitted into the hospital are sicker than they were in the past. Thus, there is a high need for social workers in hospital settings (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 208-209).

4. A subacute or transitional care unit is where patients go once they are well enough to leave the hospital but too sick to return home. Social workers help in the process of this transition by providing counseling to the patients and their families to address the physical and mental challenges that come along with the patient’s illness or condition (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 209).

5. Social workers are also involved in hospice which happens within a patient’s home. The “hospice mission embodies the spirit o medical social work” (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p. 212). Social workers value self-determination and try to help the individual retain his or her dignity. Additionally, they try their best to provide the social support the patient and his or her family needs. While this is obviously a very tough job to have, social workers are helping improve a patient’s mental well-being as much as possible before they pass (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008, p.212).


DiNitto, D., & McNeece, C. (2008). Social work: Issues and opportunities in a
challenging profession (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books

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