When it comes to doctors and dentists, nearly everybody has one or knows when it’s time to get one. The criteria aren’t quite that clear, though, when it comes to medical social workers. What exactly do medical social workers do, and how do you know when you need medical social work services?
What do medical social workers do?
Medical social workers generally work for healthcare institutions and serve a number of important purposes:
-they assist with discharge planning; that is, they ensure patients and residents have a safe place to go when they’re discharged from the hospital or rehab and make sure the services are in place for proper treatment and care following their stay
-they assist patients and residents in reviewing current insurance coverage for their discharge options as well as finding additional options for coverage if the out-of-pocket costs are high
-they help patients make decisions about their care, including their end of life wishes
When do you need a medical social worker?
You might need a medical social worker if:
-you’re being discharged from the hospital after surgery or major illness
-you’re being discharged from rehab after surgery or major illness
-you’re transferring between hospital, rehab, skilled nursing, and/or home
-you don’t have an advanced directive in place
If you’ve had a major illness, injury, or surgery, a medical social worker is an integral part of your team. He or she can 1) help you find ways to pay for your care; 2) help find a facility qualified to care for you after your hospital stay; 3) arrange for services at home once you’ve been discharged, including home healthcare services, rehab services, and home medical equipment; and 4) help you develop your advanced directives.
You can expect your medical social worker to ask a number of questions during his or her evaluation, including questions about the layout of your home, who you live with, the health and wellness of the people you live with, your local support network, your goals, and your own health and wellness. It’s important to be honest with your social worker so he or she can anticipate risks and put measures in place to prevent problems after your discharge.
To learn more about rehabilitation services in Arizona – or to connect with a medical social worker – give us a call at Santé today. Our friendly team is eager to help.