4 Ways Social Work in Health Care is Imperative

Social work in health care is more important than you think. Social workers in this field use problem solving methods to assist individuals, families, groups and communities in solving a wide range of health problems. Here are four ways in which social work in healthcare is imperative:

  1. The American Hospital Association reports that they have social workers in 75% of their hospitals. Social workers services are needed in hospitals for multiple reasons: the importance of all the patient’s needs, patients that require financial help and social service workers create essential links to the community. Because of this, social workers should be in 100% of hospitals. 200.gif
  2. Changes in healthcare have impacted the roles and responsibilities of both the patient and the provider. A need for new roles, new models of treatment, new professional competencies and improved training. Social workers in healthcare provide patients, especially those who have chronic health conditions, a different, more suiting, model of treatment that consists of more collaboration between patients and providers. 200-1.gif
  3. Social work is involved at various levels of prevention: primary, secondary and tertiary. Primary can include health education, encouraging immunizations, and practicing good mental health in families. Secondary includes encouraging treatment, checkups and early screening programs for detection of possible disease. Tertiary (or rehabilitation) includes preventing further deterioration of a disease or problem. Social work services in healthcare is imperative in order to increase prevention. 200-3.gif
  4. And as always, social work in healthcare reflects a range of responsibilities and functions. This can include the promotion of equality of opportunity, the advancement of social change, and the task of challenging injustice. The need for social workers to provide this advocacy is imperative because if this does not happen, patient care can be compromised by seven common problems that may go unaddressed. In order to assure that consumers will receive funding for care, quality care, protection of their ethical rights, access to services, and receive proper attention to their mental health needs, advocacy is a no-brainer.200-4.gifSources: All information comes from John Vassello’s “Social Work in Health Care” Powerpoint.

Six Mind-blowing Facts about Prisons in the U.S.

Prisoners are now seen as an economic opportunity. Money that could be provided for more schools, colleges, housing and health care is being used to build more prisons; “there just isn’t enough to go around.” Here are six facts that show the truth behind prisons.

  1. On average, 80% of new prison jobs go to folks who don’t live, or pay taxes, in the prison town. For example, a new prison in Delano, CA created 1,600 new jobs. Only 79 positions went to local residents.
  2. Typically, prisons attract chain stores, which pushes out locally-owned businesses. Prisons are not very good economic development strategies because they create few links to the local economy. They generally order food and supplies from centralized state warehouses – not local grocery or hardware stores. 200-3.gif
  3. There are blocks in Brooklyn, NY and many other places where the government is spending $1 million a year. Not on rehabilitation programs, education, job training, or health care. It’s being spent on imprisonment- another problem, not a solution. 98% of people return to that same block. They return jobless, without effective drug counseling or affordable housing. So, does it really make sense to spend $1 million this way?200.gif
  4. In the United States, 58% of people in prison are in for non-violent drug offenses. 200-1.gif
  5. In New York, 75% of prisoners come from SEVEN African-American and Latino neighborhoods. Yet, there is little evidence that removing so many people from a community makes it safer.
  6. Two in three people will end up back in prison – half of these due to a parole violation, not a new crime. When you place people in prison, you put them on a road that is very hard to get off. They can no longer vote, provide for their families, and often have trouble finding jobs after they are released. 200-2.gif


All information comes from Prison Town, the real cost of prisons project.

6 Facts You May Not Know About IPV

Intimate Partner Violence has two widely accepted definitions. The World Health Organization defines it as: “Any behavior within an intimate relationship that causes physical, psychological or sexual harm to those in the relationship”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines it as: “A pattern of coercive behaviors that may include repeated battering and injury, psychological abuse, sexual assault, progressive social isolation, deprivation and intimidation”. In simpler terms, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is one person exhibiting power and control over another . Here are 6 facts you may not know about IPV:

  1. There are 4 main phases in the cycle of Intimate Partner Violence. They are the Honeymoon Phase, Tension-Building Phase, Explosive Phase, and Reconciliation. 200-4.gif
  2. IPV victims can include female victims of male perpetrators, male victims of female perpetrators, males or females in homosexual relationships, and adolescents. Intimate Partner Violence does not judge; ANYONE can be a victim.200-1.gif
  3. An estimated 1.5 MILLION women and 830,000 men are physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner  in the United States each year. 200.gif
  4. A social worker that works in IPV works to raise awareness through education, performing universal assessments, risk assessments, intervention and counseling.200-2.gif
  5. #1 reason people stay in abusive relationships: for the kids. #1 reason people leave abusive relationships: for the kids. There may be a need to keep a family together, the importance of a parental figure or the fear of CPS involvement that could result in a loss of custody.
  6. 200-3.gif6. Other reasons individuals may not seek help can be due to individual barriers such as: low self-esteem, guilt, self-blame, fear of reprisal, gender considerations, failure to recognize violence as a problem, conflicting emotional states or practical concerns like unemployment and financial dependence. There are also societal/cultural barriers to seeking help. These include language barriers, consequences related to immigration status and invalidation by peers and family. Lastly, systemic barriers to seeking help consist of the belief that the legal system is not helpful, lack of health care provider knowledge, or the cost of medical care.  200w.gif


All information is from John Vassello’s Week 3: Intimate Partner Violence Powerpoint.

5 Reasons Why Leadership in Social Work is More Important than You Think

There are a couple of elements in social work that make leadership an imperative part of any position in the field. Leadership roles in social work come with the responsibility to work creatively and effectively with individuals, groups, organizations, and communities to promote social justice, address problems, and be a catalyst for positive change. Leadership is important in social work for a number of reasons:

  1. Communication. Leaders in social work need to know how to effectively communicate with different groups of people. Through communication, leaders establish a mutual respect, acceptance, and trust with their clients and colleagues. Also, communication is extremely important in interpreting the mission of the profession to the public. (Leadership Definition and Elements)



2. Values & Ethics. Part of a leader’s role is to activate the values of the profession, demonstrate ethical behavior, and further the goals of the profession. The National Association of Social Workers has established a Code of Ethics that represents the values that social work stands for. These core values include: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. (NASW Code of Ethics)


3. Vision. It is important for leaders in social work to have a vision and constantly be working towards that vision. Leaders must be willing and able to translate their visions to goals and encourage others to want to achieve these goals. They must also be able to understand and forecast future directions. #GOALS. (Leadership Definition and Elements)


4. Teamwork and Collaboration. A leader is responsible for using supervision and consultation appropriate to social work practice, in addition to the responsibilities listed above. They establish effective relationships that facilitate planned change and advances in visions. Leaders are expected to treat colleagues with respect and accurately represent the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues. Forming these relationships makes a leader’s job much more meaningful, and a whole lot easier. (Leadership Definition and Elements)200-3.gif

5. Empowerment. As a leader, it is always important to empower both your clients and your colleagues. Improving the circumstances of your clients and encouraging the best work from your colleagues are two important aspects that comes with authority. (Leadership Definition and Elements)


Works Cited:

N. (n.d.). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp

U. (n.d.). Leadership Definition and Elements. Retrieved February, 2016, from https://ssw.unc.edu/files/web/pdf/LeadershipDefinitionandElements.pdf
John Vassello, Week 2 Leadership Powerpoint.


Mental Health and Psychological Problems for the Elderly

Often times, as people get older they experience mental health and psychological problems. Social workers in this field are responsible to be alert of these issues. The truth of the matter is that 1:5 people 55 years or older will experience mental health concerns. Additionally, the suicide rate for people 65 or older is higher than for any other group. In order to combat these overwhelming statistics, it is important for social workers to look for some of the most common mental health problems, such as:

  1. Depression. Not only is depression the most common health problem, but it is often under diagnosed or under treated, and has the potential to lead to other health problems including suicide. Because of the underdiagnosis and suicide rate of people 65+, social workers should be aware of the “everyday symptoms” of depression. These can include sadness, tiredness, weight loss, difficulties in focusing, or thoughts of death/suicide. 200.gif
  2. Dementia. The most common cause of dementia in older adults in Alzheimer’s Disease, which 4 million Americans suffer from or a related form. Unfortunately, since no therapy can reverse the progressive cognitive decline, social workers can provide useful services to the client and caregiver. Specifically, they may focus on alleviating a caregiver’s potential feelings of fatigue, frustration, or inadequacy to help. 200-2.gif
  3. Elder Abuse. Elder abuse can come in many different forms including neglect, physical violence, psychological abuse, and financial exploitation. Caregiving may sometimes result in elder abuse, whether it is intentional or unintentional. In New York State, to report adult abuse, you can call 1-844-697-3505. 200-1.gif
  4. Anxiety. Anxiety in elders can range from the nervousness that one may get before an event, or a full-blown panic attack. Avoidance can also be a sign of anxiety, in which elders may attempt to cope with their stressor by avoiding it. 200-3.gif
  5. Addiction. Of all mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse should be assessed in the most direct way. 5% to 10% of US elders may have an addiction or substance disorder. Many elders have multiple prescriptions that they take daily, making it easier for them to develop an addiction due to the easy accessibility. This addiction may involve alcohol, prescription drugs, and in some cases can be deadly. 200-5.gif

All sources come from John Vassello’s Powerpoint “Social Work with Older Adults and with End of Life”.

6 Facts You Should Know about Mental Illness and Social Work Practice

Social workers provide 60% of the nation’s mental health services. This number is extremely important because of the amount of Americans that experience some form of mental illness in their lifetime, an astonishing 46% (Issues). This mental health field includes anything from forming programs for prevention to family counseling and treatment of depression or even alcohol/drug problems. Here are 7 facts you should know about mental illness in social work:

  1. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or commonly referred to as DSM, defines diagnoses of mental illnesses and can be used as a guide. It is the most widely used diagnostic tool in the United States and all mental health practitioners must be familiar with it.
  2. Social workers who practice in the mental health field can work in emergency room psychiatric services, hospitals, residential programs and outpatient services.
  3. 50% of mental disorders manifest by the age of 14, and three-quarters by the age of 24. This makes children/young adults a primary concern of mental health practitioners. However, these services are not provided in the same quantity as they are for adults.
  4. Case management, evidence-based treatment, strengths-based services, motivational interviewing and family psychoeducation are among the most common direct services that social workers in the mental health field provide. These services can be applied to almost any mental health disorder.
  5. Social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurses are some occupations with the longest traditions as mental health service providers.
  6. Funding agencies like SAMHSA and NIMH generally require evaluation of program processes and outcomes. This helps to ensure social worker’s responsibility that services are accessible, available, and appropriate.


All information comes from Social Work Issues and Opportunities in a Challenging Profession, Third Edition.

6 Standards for Social Workers Practicing in Child Welfare

Many social workers that work in child welfare systems serve some of the most vulnerable children and families across the country. Having played a critical role in these systems, social workers hold an important role to support and strengthen families and to protect children from harm while ensuring their well-being. Here are six standards that social workers in child welfare follow to best do their job:

  1. Ethics and Values. Social workers in child welfare should demonstrate core values such as justice, importance of relationships, integrity and competence.
  2. Professional Development. Social workers should continuously build their skill set in order to bring the best current services to their clients. This can be in the form of participating in educational opportunities and supervising social work interns when possible.
  3. Advocacy. In child welfare, social workers should seek to advocate for resources and systems that will improve services for youth, children and families. Helping clients to effectively use and have access to community resources is an example of what social workers could do.
  4. Assessment. It is important for social workers in child welfare to properly assess a child, youth, and family system to gather important, initial information. Ongoing assessments should be conducted to develop a plan for child welfare services.
  5. Intervention. Through evidence based practices, social workers in child welfare should strive to ensure the safety and well-being of children.
  6. Family engagement. Social workers in child welfare should engage families, immediate or extended, as partners through the process of assessment, intervention and reunification efforts. Understanding and incorporating the family’s needs and perspective into planning for potential solutions.


All information comes from:


N. (n.d.). NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Child Welfare. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/practice/standards/childwelfarestandards2012.pdf