6 Important Facts to Know about Social Work with the Elderly and Terminally Ill

1.Hospice patients still receive care for illnesses

A patient in hospice care may still receive treatment for an illness they have. Simply because someone has a life threatening illness, or is elderly and close to the end of their life, does not mean they stop receiving care. For example, a patient with cancer who contracts strep throat will still receive care for their strep throat. (Hopkins, 4/28/2016)

2.Social Workers help not only elderly or dying patients, but also their families

Family members of patients may often be overcome with grief. Anticipatory grief may occur for example as a spouse or relative prepares for the passing of a loved one. A social worker therefore may provide the spouse or relative with help in dealing with their experienced grief. (Hopkins, 4/28/2016)

3.There is a growing increase for gerontological social workers

As the population increases, as well as advances in medicine are made, the elderly population has increased. Therefore, social workers are needed to provide care for the growing population. Social workers additionally may help prepare people for the psychological changes of life after retirement. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

4. Social Workers help prevent elderly abuse

Neglect is one of the most common forms of elderly abuse. The elderly may be subjected to physical or psychological abuse, but sometimes may not be able to speak out due to illness (such as dementia). Suspicion of elder abuse is something that must be reported in most states. Social workers may advocate on behalf of the elderly to increase education, so as to prevent abuse from occurring. (Class Lecture, 4/26/2016)

5.Appropriate way for social workers to talk to clients

If the family member of someone who is dying,or who has passed away, is talking to a social worker, there is a proper way for the social worker to help them address their grief. A social worker should not say that “they know exactly what the person is going through”. This is because a social worker would not want to devalue their loss by saying this. Instead, a social worker can acknowledge that they understand the situation they are going through, but still focus on the clients current situation and grief. (Hopkins, 4/28/2016)

6.Social workers help the elderly receive proper healthcare

Considering both hearing and vision loss the elderly may face, social workers make sure that communication between the elderly and healthcare providers is optimal. Scheduling of appointments, as well as transportation to appointments, may be aided by social workers, who speak as advocates for the elderly to ensure these services are provided. Social workers also help the elderly to properly pay for their healthcare visits, through their extensive knowledge of medicare and medicaid for example. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

by David Montes


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Chicago, Il.: Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

Hopkins, Sarah. Class Lecture, 4/28/2016.

Vassello, John. Class Lecture, 4/26/2016.

6 Ways in which Social Workers assist those in need of Mental Health Services

1.Providing assistance for children


Although half of all mental health disorders arise by a person reaches adolescence, there are not as many mental health services for children as compared to adults. A social worker may therefore may advocate on a macro level for more mental health services for children. Additionally, certain children may be more prone to a mental disorder genetically, and may be put at higher risk if they are living in an abusive environment. Social workers may screen children at a young age who are prone to disorders so they can be treated appropriately. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

2.Helping treat clients who have a comorbid diagnosis

Clients who suffer from multiple illnesses may run into certain complications, as it may be difficult to efficiently be treated for both illnesses. For example, a person may be suffering from both a mental disorder, as well as alcoholism, and may not have the proper resources to treat both, or be able to afford treatment for both. A social worker therefor may help the client to find the most effective techniques and programs for their disorders. (Class lecture, 4/21/2016)

3.Treating the homeless

A large percentage of homeless people in America have a mental illness; around 25%. Mental illness is even more prevalent specifically in homeless family populations. Social workers may therefore first help those who are mentally ill and homeless find shelter. They may then provide services to those with a mental illness in a shelter setting. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

4.Societal views of mental illness of women

Much research on mental illness is done through the use of male test subjects, although women are at a higher risk for depression. Societal factors may contribute to the perception of women as being more frequently mentally ill. A social worker has an important role in trying to educate healthcare professionals on the importance of not stereotyping and over diagnosing women as mentally ill. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

5.Interacting with clients of different ethnicities

In recent years, focus on researching mental illness in minorities has increased. African Americans may affected in a different way by mental illness due to societal differences experienced. Additionally, hispanics are unlikely to have proper health insurance to be treated for mental illness. Social work with different ethnicities involves becoming sensitive to the approaches needed to treat people of different ethnicities suffering from a mental illness. Cultural differences may exist between ethnicities that affect the way in which the client wants to be treated.(DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

6.Veterans affected by mental disorders


Social work with veterans may involve dealing with the emotional pain experienced. Post traumatic stress disorder is a prevalent mental illness amongst veterans, one which social workers help veterans to overcome. Social workers may also help veterans suffering from alcoholism, as alcohol is often used as a form of self-medication. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

by David Montes


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

Nunez, Mario. Class Lecture, 4/21/2016.

6 ways in which social workers can help fight the challenges faced by those with disabilities

1.Receiving all forms of necessary healthcare

As part of the stigma involved with having a disability, overall healthcare may sometimes be overlooked. For example, women with disabilities are less likely to be screened for cervical cancer and take breast exams. A social worker would make sure that total healthcare is taken into account. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

2.Being able to speak on behalf of someone who is disabled

Unfortunately, it may be difficult for those with a mental disability to advocate for themselves. In part, this is due to the stigma of them not knowing what they want, or other people thinking they know whats best. A social worker can act on behalf of someone who is disabled, as an advocate. For example, if someone with a disability wants to work, a social worker may provide support and assistance in this endeavor in a way that other people may not. (Class Lecture, 4/14/2016)

3.Preparedness to work with the disabled


Currently, social workers are aiding in the attempts that are being made to unify the concepts of mental retardation, developmental disabilities, and general disabilities. By doing so, this would help make services, as well as disability education, more efficient. Additionally, healthcare and human service professionals can be better prepared to work in the field. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

4.Employment for the disabled

Social workers can definitely help the disabled find employment, and help ensure that discrimination does not occur based off of their disability. Employment is a focus of the Americans with Disabilities Act, although unfortunately the goal of employment for the disabled is still yet to be fully achieved. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

5.Helping to find or raise funding

Programs for people with disabilities may sometimes be in competition with one another for funding. As a result, one program may not receive as much funding as needed, which negatively effects the disabled clients. A social worker on the macro level may try to create legislation to make sure that programs for the disabled do receive the necessary funding. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)


6.Increasing disability education

It has been found that only 22% of BSW and MSW programs offer developmental disability programs. Therefore, education in regards to disabilities is not nearly as high as it needs to be. Social workers working in the field may recognize the lack of education, and help ensure an increase in educational programs. The Council on Social Work Education has increased its focus on disability education in recent years. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)


by David Montes


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

Kramer, Charlie. Class Lecture, 4/14/2016.




6 Important Facts to Know about School Social Work

1.Social Workers can help students with their attendance

Students may miss extensive amount of school days, which can be indicative of issues at home. Social workers may act to help the student to try and attend school more regularly. This may involve slowly reintroducing the student to a school environment, from coming for half the day, and working up to coming everyday in a week. (Class Lecture, 4/5/2016)

2.Social Workers advocate for students of all ages

Image result for school social worker

From elementary school and up, social workers maintain an important relationship with students. This includes a relationship based on trust and confidentiality, as confidentiality is important to the social workers code of ethics. Social workers are also in a position of power where they can speak on behalf of  students needs. (Class Lecture, 4/7/2016)

3. Students facing difficult emotional situations can talk with social workers

Students dealing with the loss of a close loved one may turn to a social worker for emotional support, as well as guidance. Considering students may be too young to properly deal with the loss of a loved one, a social worker may help them to cope. (Class Lecture, 4/7/2016)

4.Social Workers can help foster safe environments by discouraging bullying

Bullying is an important issue, with many schools utilizing a zero tolerance approach to bullying. If a student is found to be bullying another student, a social worker may evaluate the situation, and help the student to understand why bullying is wrong, and teach them how to correct their behavior. (Class Lecture, 4/7/2016)

5.A number of strategies may be used when talking to students


Although a school social worker may be consistent in having the goal of helping students, they way in which this is achieved may vary. For example, certain students may be more quiet than others, and in these cases, patience plays a role. This is because the student may need time to open up to the social worker. (Class Lecture, 4/7/2016)

6.Social Workers may help and work with students with disabilities

In 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was passed, which provides money to accommodate the education of children with special needs. Often times, these students may benefit from the aid of social workers, who have an understanding of their needs. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

by David Montes


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

Bligen, Sam. Class Lecture, 4/7/2016.

Faughnan, Mackenzie. Class Lecture, 4/5/2016.

6 Reasons Why Social Work with Children is Important

1.The prevalence of child abuse that exists in America today

Child abuse can take various forms, which include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. 77% of maltreatment perpetrators are parents, with women accounting for a high number of neglect cases, and men accounting for a high number of sexual abuse cases. A social worker can intervene in abuse cases by placing a child in a safer environment. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

2.Children living in poverty, and associated problems

In America, 13 million children are living in poverty, with children living in poverty at an elevated risk of maltreatment. Children living in poverty also have a greater chance of illness, due to unsanitary conditions. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

3.The association between drug abuse and child maltreatment

Drug abuse by parents has been found to be highly correlated with child maltreatment. The result of parents abusing drugs is the child having to assume the responsibility the parent otherwise would. For example, a child may have to provide primary care for their siblings while also worrying about food. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

4.Children of teenage parents

A child of teen parents has an increased risk of poverty, as teen parents are thought to not be prepared to support their child financially. Social workers working in schools may help aid teen parents through education about caring for their child. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

5.Children not receiving proper healthcare

Unfortunately, some healthcare providers don’t like the use of medicaid and so parents who are misinformed will lead to their children not receiving healthcare for extensive amounts of time (Class Lecture, 3/24/2016). Additionally, 12% of American children have no form of health insurance. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

6.Unclear custody of a child

Difficulties arise when a child’s custody is uncertain, and social workers may provide assistance in these instances. Divorce may be a difficult time for a child, as they feel intense negative feelings as a result of potential fighting between the parents. Social workers help parents to make the appropriate custody decisions for the child. A social worker may also help children of parents who are incarcerated or deceased find homes. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2008)

by David Montes


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

Kida, Luann. Class Lecture, 3/24/2016.


6 Ways to Combat Substance Use Disorders

1.Youth Education

Image result for school speech gif

Youth education is used to prevent substance use disorders altogether. Social workers often work to educate children as a form of prevention. School is a setting in which prevention education may take place. An example of this is seen by SAMHSA, which provides information on evidence based prevention programs for children. (DiNitto et al., 2008)


The use of screenings can help detect the presence of a substance use disorder. Screenings may take the form of a questionnaire, and indicate to a social worker whether someone is at risk for or currently suffering from a substance use disorder. Multiple screening tests have been developed, and so the social worker is tasked with choosing the appropriate one for the client. (DiNitto et al., 2008)

3.Brief Interventions

Brief Interventions can be effective in helping to curtail early substance use problems. Brief interventions can take the form of counseling sessions, or having the client log their activity for example. Research has found an effectiveness to the use of brief interventions, especially in reducing risk drinking. The FRAMES approach (feedback, recognizing, advice, menu of choices, empathy, self-efficacy) is sometimes used in brief interventions.(DiNitto et al., 2008)

4.Motivational Interviewing

The therapist-client relationship is important to motivational interviewing, as it has been found that greater therapist empathy leads to better outcomes. The therapist empowers the client, and makes clear that drug use is a choice, one that can be overcome or changed. (Vassello, 3/17/2016)

5.Behavioral therapy

Adolescents with substance use disorders have been found to benefit from the use of behavioral therapy. This means allowing the adolescent to be proactive, by actively recording substance use, or create future plans that do not involve substance use for example. (DiNitto et al., 2008)

6.Mutual Help Groups

Mutual help groups allow for those with a substance use disorder to support and discuss their experiences with each other. Alcoholics anonymous is one of the largest groups, however there are several others such as cocaine anonymous and gamblers anonymous. Mutual help groups are also important as they may also for members to become more educated on the substance use disorder they are facing. (DiNitto et al., 2008)

by David Montes


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

Vassello, J. Class Lecture, 3/17/2016.


6 Important Facts to know about the role of Military Social Work

1.Social Workers can use therapy to relieve veterans of distress

Different types of therapies, such as exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, have been found to help alleviate the trauma that veterans may experience. Although these therapies may not eliminate the trauma completely, they can help the veteran deal and control their experience. (Studgeon, 2016)

2.Social Workers can help advocate for veterans who have been sexually abused

Veterans who meet with social workers may admit to having been sexually abused while in the military. Although justice is not always found for the victims, social workers can still help advocate on behalf of the veterans, as well as provide emotional support to overcome the trauma. (Studgeon, 2016)

3.Families of those serving may work with social workers

Families of those serving in the military sometimes receive social work assistance as well. Social workers can help families adjust to having a loved one in the military, as well as cope with the fear and worried feelings often experienced. (Vasello, 2016)

4.Social Workers can be found as part of the military

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest employer of social workers in America. And although not all social workers who work for the VA have served in active duty, the military additionally employs social workers. For example, in 2003, there were 150 army social work officers, and 215 air force social work officers. (Daley, 2003)

5.Alcohol and substance abuse is a prevalent problem among veterans

Alcohol is considered a popular form of self-medication for veterans as a way to deal with their emotional pain. Social workers may help explain the problems associated with alcohol abuse and why it is not beneficial, as the emotional pain is still present when the veteran is sober.  (Studgeon, 2016)

6.Social Workers may work with veterans in a one-on-one or group setting

Both a one-on-one and group setting can be advantageous in providing care for veterans. While a one-on-one setting allows for a more intimate conversation, a group setting may allow for a veteran to feel supported and understood by fellow veterans. (Studgeon, 2016)

by David Montes


Daley, J. D. (2003). Military social work A multi-country comparison. International Social Work, 46(4), 437-448.

Studgeon, C. Class Lecture, 3/10/2016.

Vassello, J. Class Lecture, 3/8/2016.




6 Reasons Why Social Work is Beneficial to Health Care

1.Social Workers provide culturally sensitive services

The GLBT population has faced negativity and stigmatization in the face of health care. As a result, certain primary-care clinics have emerged that have combated these negative attitudes. Social workers provide support for these GLBT patients to ensure their well-being. (DiNitto & McNeece, 2012)

2.Social Work is involved in the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of prevention


Each of these levels play a role in maintaining health and preventing any illness. The primary level of health care includes health education as well as encouraging immunizations, and good mental health practices in families. The secondary level deals with screening for early detection as well as checkups. The tertiary level involves preventing an illness from worsening. (Class Lecture 3/1/2016)

3.Social Work is used a model for training for Medical Professionals

The principles of social work are being stressed in the training of healthcare professionals. Such principles include maintaining positive interactions with patients, as well as promoting the highest quality of care. (Class Lecture 3/1/2016)

4.Social Workers act as advocates for patients


As an advocate, a social worker may speak on behalf of the patient. This allows the social worker to help protect and support healthcare consumers. Social workers are able to do so as a result of the position of influence they hold. (Class Lecture 3/1/2016)

5.Oncology Social Work provides great care for the patient

The role of social work in oncology is an important and varied one. This role includes providing psychosocial care, as well as helping the patient and their family deal with the emotions following the diagnosis. Social workers may also hold oncology support groups for those who have been diagnosed. (Class Lecture 3/1/2016)

6.The Department of Veterans Affairs works closely with social workers

Image result for army veterans gif

Social Work Services were established in the VA in 1926. Social workers are considered to provide care for veterans throughout the entire health care process. The focus of the VA has consisted of care for veterans who are homeless and elderly. (DiNitto& McNeece, 2008)


by David Montes


DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

Vassello, J. Class Lecture, 3/1/2016.

7 Important Facts to Know about the History of Poverty

1.Attempts to help the poor can be traced back centuries

In 17th century England, many cities began to grow in size, leaving some people to experience poverty as economic and societal changes occurred. As a result, the Elizabethan poor law of 1601 was enacted. This act allowed public officials to determine who amongst the poor was worthy of aid. (DiNitto et al., 2008)

2.The Puritans helped shape welfare in the pre-U.S. era

Puritans started settling America in the 17th century. Since they were in a new and unfamiliar land, they faced many hardships. Despite their challenges, poverty was still viewed as resulting from the individual. A dual welfare system was eventually developed. This system included both government and religious involvement in assisting the poor.(DiNitto et al., 2008)

3.Poverty assistance relief varied in the 19th century

While indoor relief grew during this time, outdoor relief did not. Indoor relief took the form of poorhouses, asylums, and workhouses for example, where the poor would live or work. Outdoor relief involved assisting people in their homes, and this did not grow during this time. (DiNitto et al., 2008)

4.The Progressive Era brought about new thinking in regards to welfare reform

During this period, there was a large surge in immigration to the United States. Many immigrants felt the effects of urbanism through experiencing poverty. Programs to assist the poor were seen in the form of Charity Organization Societies and settlement houses. (DiNitto et al., 2008)

5.The Great Depression negatively impacted many families, although it brought many reforms with it

Under Roosevelt’s presidency, reforms were made to help combat the poverty Americans were facing as a result of the Great Depression. The Federal Emergency Relief Act and the Social Security Act were two such reforms.(DiNitto et al., 2008)


6.As a change in political thinking occurred, so did changes to the welfare system during the 1980’s and 1990’s

While the federal government played a large role in the welfare system during the 1960’s, under the Reagan administration, welfare was defunded, and put more so under state control. Additionally, under the Clinton administration, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program was implemented. This was seen by many as a detriment to the poor, instead of a fight against poverty. (DiNitto et al., 2008)

7.In America today, millions still feel the negative consequences of poverty

Despite all the reforms that have been made, around 3 million Americans experience homelessness annually. Poverty and homelessness may correlate with mental illness or substance abuse, and so these are issues that need to be addressed as well. (Baggett et al. 2010)

by David Montes


Baggett, T. P., O’Connell, J. J., Singer, D.E., & Rigotti, N.E. (2010). The Unmet Health Care Needs of Homeless Adults: A National Study. American Journal of Public Health, 100(7), 1326-1331.

DiNitto, D. M., & McNeece, C. A. (2008). Social Work: Issues and opportunities in a challenging profession. Lyceum Books, (3rd Edition).

6 Reasons why reforms should be made to the American prison system

1.A large percentage of prison inmates have a mental health problem or substance abuse problem                                                                                    

In the American prison system, 75% of inmates have a substance abuse problem, while 40% of inmates have a mental health problem. Many prisoners who require mental health care are locked up instead of being treated properly in a mental health institution. (Pryor, 2016)

2.Many prisons end up hurting the local community

Although many rural towns may be attracted to the idea of building a prison due to the perceived economic benefit, the local economy usually does not have many ties to the prison. (Pyle, 2005)

3.The rate of going back to prison is too high

Unfortunately upon release from prison, there is a high percentage of former inmates who end up back in prison. 66% of former inmates go back to prison if they are not helped. Many go back to prison due to parole violations. (Pryor, 2016)

4.There are too many inmates in the American prison system

                                               America has come to be known globally for its prison system, as we have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Additionally, around 7.2 million Americans are under some form of correctional supervision. (Vassello, 2016)

5.After being released from prison, former inmates face many challenges 

Due to the stigma associated with prison and incarceration, former inmates may have a hard time getting a new job. Job application forms often ask if the applicant has ever been to prison. In certain states, those on parole cannot vote. (Pryor, 2016)

6.Many inmates are in prison for nonviolent crimes                

In America, 58% of inmates are imprisoned for non-violent, drug related offenses. (Pyle, 2005)

by David Montes


Pryor, J. Class Lecture, 2/18/2016.

Pyle, K., & Gilmore, C. (2005). Prison Town: Paying the Price. The Real Cost of Prisons Project.

Vassello, J. Class Lecture, 2/16/2016.