Social work at the heart of the medical team
This paper proposes one model of hospital social work delivery services that places social work in a facilitative role within the medical team, and describes a pilot project designed to evaluate these services. Social work's role in this teaching hospital setting was tailored to provide patients and medical staff access to social work services upon admission, rather than at the time of discharge. This change places social work at the pivotal juncture to improve medical care and addresses the social, cultural and environmental concerns as they surface during patient stay. Unique to this demonstration model is the added advantage of placing the social worker at the hub of the physician-led medical team. Medical students, residents, and attending physicians all learn, observe, and experience the advantages social workers bring to the process. Educating medical students on teams with social workers bodes well for the profession. The authors summarize the program design, results and implications for social work practice in a teaching hospital setting.
Kitchen A, Brook J. Social work at the heart of the medical team. Soc Work Health Care. 2005;40(4):1-18. PMID: 15911501. DOI: 10.1300/J010v40n04_01.