Doctors, physicians, nurses, and everyone else in the healthcare industry play a significant role in shaping a community’s healthcare experience. They are compensated with their rightly deserved respect and appreciation. However, there are some figures in the same industry whose efforts greatly contribute to the wellbeing of the community, and these efforts may sometimes go unrecognized. Here we are referring to social workers.
Sometimes, a patient needs a lot more than just treatment to heal from their illnesses. Social workers are either hired by the state or funded by non-profits to render their services. While healthcare professionals assess, diagnose, and treat you, these individuals have got everything under control in the back end to ensure you have the right resources to maintain your health in the future. Social workers aren’t just concerned for the patient; they’re concerned for the entire community. Therefore, they provide emotional support and counseling to the patient’s family and address their needs too. They may assist in providing therapy, meal plans, referrals, etc. In one way or another, social workers are keeping the entire healthcare sector together.
The term “social work” makes us think of individuals who volunteer to work for free. Sure, you need to be empathetic to do social work, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get paid for it. As per the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), social workers make between $50,000 to $80,000 a year in the United States. However, not everyone can become a social worker without the right skillset and expertise. Furthermore, to climb up the hierarchy in this profession, you are required to earn an advanced degree likemaster in social work. This degree equips you with the necessary skills and knowledge to prosper in social work as a profession. Continue reading to know how social work altered the way healthcare works.
- Filling Up The Communication Gap
One of the prerequisites of being a social worker is being a communication expert. Even if you’re not one already, your social work degree will teach you to be. Social workers use this skill to hold discussions with the patients, their families, and their doctors. Since it’s easier to open up to a social worker rather than a doctor, gaining complete access to a patient’s history becomes exceedingly convenient. While all doctors can access a patient’s history, social workers can also do that and make good use of it.
Research studies have depicted that patients respond to treatment better when they’re well-informed about their treatment plans. Since the jargon in healthcare is difficult to comprehend, social workers ensure that patients have a crisp and clear understanding of their treatment, side effects, long-term consequences, risks involved, other available options, etc.
- Provision On Emotional Support and Counseling
Since undergoing treatment is mentally burdening, most patients are often very anxious throughout and after. Some treatments heal you, but at a cost. Social workers provide therapeutic counseling to patients to lift some weight from their heads to proceed with treatment. From a holistic point of view, the body doesn’t heal if the mind doesn’t heal beforehand. Therefore, the counseling sessions play a major role in facilitating the patient’s treatment to obtain favorable outcomes.
Social workers may also organize support groups to bring together patients suffering from similar illnesses or witnessing the same situation to aid each other in keeping their heads. For example, there are many support groups for people recovering from substance abuse. Similarly, there are groups of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. These groups proactively assist patients to get inspired by others and pace up their recovery. On the flip side, social workers also provide emotional support to the patient’s family and attend to their limitless questions.
- Financial Planning And Assistance
Healthcare is expensive and can be super burdening on some patients’ financial conditions. Some patients might not even consider getting medical help because of their inability to afford it. Doctors and nurses try to do everything they can by providing medical assistance. On the other hand, social workers take care of the financial assistance part. They educate the patients and their families about their options, financial aids plans, legal aid, etc.
Social workers also ensure that the patients have access to resources that will assist them in recovery after they get discharged from the hospital, such as medications, therapy, etc. Some social organizations also provide the patients with education, employment opportunities, and basically anything to get them back on track once they recover.
Social workers fill the gap between patients and doctors by promoting crystal clear communication and also attending to the patient’s psychological needs. Social workers also provide counseling to the patient’s family as well as educate them about financial aid plans when needed. They also check up on patients from time to time to keep track of their recovery once they’re discharged from the hospitals.