Getting Old (Inspired by Spongebob)

Getting older is never a fun thing! However, there are many ways in which a social worker can help!

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First of All: What is aging? Aging isn’t just developing wrinkles and buying more candles every birthday! There are other aspects of aging such as your mind. Getting older could mean a decline in our psychological well-being. Older adults sometimes develop dementia. (In class lecture)

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What are some of the challenges of getting older? There are a myriad of ways that living alone gets more difficult in old age. When spouses die, living alone becomes a struggle without the extra help around the house.

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Also, growing older means that others grow older too. Dealing with the death of friends and family and a hardship that no one is prepared for. (In class lecture)

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So what can I do? Talk to a social worker! A social worker can intervene in more ways than you think. Whether it’s you or a family member or a friend who is beginning to suffer from dementia, a social worker has the resources to help you through the process. They can prepare you for the long road ahead and help find the best services to assist you and your family. Losing a spouse is one of the most difficult things someone will go through, and a social worker can help you through the grieving process and maybe help facilitate moving to assisted living to compensate for new void in your life. Lastly, a social worker can guide you towards people and groups where you can share experiences and grieve the loss of loved one together. (In class lecture)

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Social Work and Mental Health

First of all, what is mental health?

In our society, mental health is self-esteem, a sense of autonomy, the ability to maintain fulfilling relationships, and a sense of psychological well-being amongst other things. As you can see, it is not exactly easily defined.

Unlike other diseases, mental healthy cannot be tested through our blood or other typical tests such as an X-Ray. 

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Often, labeling someone can be problematic

Labels make it too easy for someone to start showing signs of mental illness because symptoms are available through a simple google search, and anyone who thinks they have a mental illness can show false symptoms. Doctors, social workers, and psychiatrists etc. try to remain abstract to prevent a false diagnosis.

There are many causes of mental illness

One of the largest causes is stress. Stress can be caused by the loss of one’s job, or homelessness, and even overwhelming role responsibilities either at work or home. These are all negative life events that have a huge impact on people’s mental well-being.

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Disaster Mental Health Services

John D. Weaver often takes a few emergency shifts a month which consist of phone counseling, information and referral, site counseling, arranging voluntary hospitalization, and delegating involuntary commitment. All of these services are provided to help those with mental illnesses who seek out help. (Grobman 208)

September 11th, 2001

John D. Weaver,  a licensed social worker, worked extensively as the Coordinator of the Family Assistance Center (FAC). The purpose of this center was to provide a safe place for families to come together and share thoughts, feelings and memories with each other. (Grobman 210)

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Sources:

In Class Lecture

Grobman, L. (2012). Days in the Lives of Social Workers (4th ed.). Harrisburg: White Hat Communications.

Social Work with People with Disabilities

1.) The ‘Activated Patient’ is one who is an avid participator in their own care, one who uses the tools they have within the community, and keeps regularly scheduled appointments. The key to creating an Activated Patient is the feeling of empowerment in a situation where they may feel they don’t have any control. One of the main goals of a social worker is for their client to feel empowered and to help them help themselves; this is certainly reflected in the ‘Activated Patient’ (Findley, 87)

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2.) Social workers are trained in many theories, such as human behavior, empowerment, cultural awareness, and family relations theory which are all important factors in working with clients with chronic illnesses.” (Findley 91)

3.) There is no age range. According to Charlie Kramer, he sees people of every age and he doesn’t discriminate. He says that you never know what kind of day you’re going to have, and that’s what makes it fun.

4.) “It’s important to have a lot of tools, because if all you’ve got is a hammer, than all you’re gonna see is a nail” -Charlie Kramer

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5.) Chronic Illness care cannot be reactive, it must be proactive and planned. (Findley 84)

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6.) Self-management techniques have been shown to facilitate active engagement of the patient in his or her care. (Findley 87)

Sources

Findley, P. (2014). Social work practice in the chronic care model: Chronic illness and                  disability care. Journal of Social Work, 14(1), 83-95. doi:10.1177/1468017313475381

Powell, N. (2008). Swallow me whole. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf Productions.

What does a School Social Worker Do?

1.) A school social worker may work with an individual, a parent, a family or a whole classroom. Not all problems can be solved by talking to one person. (In class lecture)

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2.) When working with parents and family, social workers make home visits to see the home environment and make sure the child is safe at home and evaluate the circumstances under which the chile may be acting out. Sometimes, home visits reveal information that help the social workers figure out why the child is having problems in school. (In class lecture)

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3.) Some children are unable to communicate their problems through speech, their artwork may convey how they are feeling on the inside. Social worker Sam Bligen says that he often uses children’s drawings to gain an insight on what they truly feel and think. This kind of analysis is best on children in grades K-5.

4.) Social workers play a big part in anti-bullying programs in schools. They want to promote good behavior and ensure that students feel safe in their school environment. Many schools have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to bullying, and it can be handled by individual counseling or by sending kids to anti-bullying groups. ( In class lecture)

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5.) If you’re like Mr. Bligen, your caseload could be as large, if not larger than 600 students! In a school where there is only one social worker, it is their job to ensure the welfare and safety of all the students in the building. Many students will not have any problems, but there are many others who have trouble in school, or even trouble at home where abuse and neglect at home can have a negative effect on their ability to socialize and interact in school.

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Substance Abuse and how Social Workers Make Positive Impacts

1.) 9% of the population of the US has a substance abuse disorder. That’s about 22.5 million people just in the United States! (Straussner 127)

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2.) There is a stigma that surrounds substance abuse (Straussner 128). It prevents us from thinking it could be our Mom, Dad, or even Grandparent. The traditional “junkie” looks something like this:

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3.) Despite the large number of people with substance abuse problems, social workers tend to receive little training in substance use and abuse (Class Lecture). Social workers have many skills that can help facilitate a clean recovery for addicts, it is amazing that they don’t have more skills in that particular area.

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4.) FUN FACT Social workers play an important role in the treatment of alcoholics and their families after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933 (Straussner 128)

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5.) Social workers don’t just help in the treatment of alcohol and other drugs (AOD). Social workers also help “process” addictions such as eating disorders, sexual addictions, and gambling (Straussner 128).

6.) Certain medications can help diminish the craving for drugs and assist clients in re-establishing normal brain functioning. Some commonly used medications are methadone, buprenorphine, disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprasate (Straussner 128).

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7.) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is very effective with treating AOD disorders. It reduces self-defeating behavior by modifying cognitive distortions and maladaptive beliefs (Straussner 129).

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8.) What many people do not know is that people in the LGBTQ community have a higher risk of suffering from substance abuse (Silvestre 369)

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Sources

In Class Lecture

Silvestre, A., Beatty, R., & Friedman, M. (2013). Substance Use Disorder in the Context of LGBT Health: A Social Work Perspective. Social Work in Public Health, 28, 366-376.

Straussner, S. (2012). Clinical Treatment of Substance Abusers: Past, Present and Future. Clinical Social Work Journal Clin Soc Work J, 40, 127-133.

How Social Workers Make Positive Impacts on People in the Military

“Social workers have provided direct services focusing on such issues as family violence, substance abuse, mental illness, adaptation to the military, wartime trauma, coping with physical illness and health enhancement” (Daley 438).

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Military Social Work positions have reduced family stress and therefore have increased soldiers’ career motivation (Daley 445)

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Military Social Workers adapt to the changing environment and priorities. Some aim to develop a family violence prevention programs, and others wants to implement a critical incident stress debriefing response system (Daley 445)

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Often if families are dissatisfied with military life, soldiers are less likely to re-enlist. The United States Military puts a lot of focus on the importance of family satisfaction to increase the number of soldiers who re-enlist. This saves a lot of time and money spent on training new soldiers (Daley 445)

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Sources

Daley, J. (2003). Military Social Work: A Multi-Country Comparison. International Social Work Int Soc Work, 46(4), 437-448. doi:10.1177/0020872803464002

8 Holistic Facts about Healthcare Social Work

1.) “Early roles of the medical social worker consisted of assisting patients with chronic disease management, mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, physical disabilities, terminal conditions, and accessing extended care services” (Judd and Sheffield 857)

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2.) A hospital social worker can see as many as 60 clients a month (Judd and Sheffield 862)

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3.) Most of the time a social worker spends at work will be one on one interaction with patients (Judd and Sheffield)

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4.) A hospital social worker doesn’t only work with patients though; sometimes they participate in non-patient care activities such as income-generating projects and addressing bioethical issues (Judd and Sheffield 866)

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5.) Social workers can also utilize a bio-psychosocial perspective and design programs that focus on wellness and health education (Judd and Sheffield 868)

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6.) Health illiteracy is a huge problem for people trying to seek medical care, fortunately, there is a lot that can be done to help alleviate this issue. Patient education and support, system improvements, and health care provider accommodations are all services that could have a positive impact (Liechty 99)

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7.) Social workers can work with families to build health literacy knowledge and information-seeking skills during counseling and casework interactions ( Liechty 104)

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8.) Some of the most important issues to a hospital social worker are health equality, quality of care, healthcare access, and cultural and linguistic relevance.

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Sources

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.