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Social Services

Helping Your Loved One Adjust to Placement
Depression and the Elderly
The Nursing Home Residentís Adjustment

SOCIAL WORKER: Their Role In A Nursing Home
By: Cindy Lee, LSW

You and your loved one are about to enter a nursing home. You are overwhelmed by feelings. They too, are overwhelmed by feelings, although, they may not be the same feelings you are experiencing. Just the same, they are all justified and need to be validated. Placing a loved one in a nursing home, you have feelings of guilt, anxiety, incompetency, a sense of overwhelmingness and feelings of loss. This is an appropriate time to seek out the assistance of you Social Worker.

Your Social Worker is someone who can give you comfort and understanding, when you need it the most. The Social Service Department is involved in encouraging the family to assist the staff at the facility to restore the resident to an optimum level of self-care, independence, and a sense of self-worth, in the least restrictive environment possible. Your Social Worker will encourage family involvement and provide support for the family. They are your advocate while you or your loved one, are residing in a long-term care facility. The Social Worker is a team member, providing direct services to residents and their families. They address the psychosocial needs of the resident and their family, they assist with the adjustment to placement, they provide education for staff, families and residents in regards to resident rights, and they assist residents in maintaining their rights.

The nursing home Social Worker is mandated to adhere to the professional Code of Ethics, adhere to governmental laws, and conduct their services under the Nursing Home Social Work Practice Standards. They are responsible for fostering an environment which enables residents to retain their individuality, independence, and dignity. They must be licensed or license eligible with supervision of a consultant. The Social Worker respects the privacy of their residents and make every effort to foster maximum self-determination of the residents.

If you and/or your loved one are having difficulties with the transition, request time with your Social Worker. They are there for you and you loved one. Although employed by the facility, they are your advocate, enforcing the rights of residents at that facility.

Conflict between Administrators and Social Workers
What is it? How Do You Deal With it?

Protecting Residents' Dignity: The Social Worker's Role
Key points of what nursing home social workers can realistically do to make changes in their practice to enhance how resident dignity is perceived and respected in the nursing home environment.

National Association of Social Workers Web Site
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with more than 155,000 members. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies.

National Citizen's Coalition for Nursing Home Reform
A national non-profit consumer advocacy organization for nursing home residents, offering information on staffing in nursing homes, citizen advocacy groups, long term care ombudsman programs, how family members can advocate for good care, and government policies, laws and regulations affecting residents.

Nursing Home Social Work Practice Standards
These practice standards were developed by the Nursing Home Committee of the National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter through a democratic process involving input from nursing home social workers throughout the Commonwealth.

Planning for Your Discharge
Information and a checklist (pdf) for patients and caregivers preparing to leave a hospital, nursing home, or other health care setting.

A new professional resource for social workers.


Skilled Nursing Facilities

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