Social Work Department

Clinical Social Work Services

The Social Work Department clinical services include: Assessment, Counseling, Education, Discharge Planning, and Resource Referral.

Assessment, Counseling, and Education services include the following:

Adjustment to Illness and Hospitalization

NIH patients may experience troubling feelings about their medical conditions. The prospect of repeated hospital visits, prolonged absences from home, and financial difficulties can add to the burden of illness. Social workers are able to understand these concerns, talk with patients and family members, and provide professional assistance.

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Crisis Intervention

Patients who have coped well at home may experience anxieties in a new setting like the Clinical Center. Medical procedures, such as diagnostic tests, experimental medications, surgery, and other forms of treatment (including chemotherapy and radiation) can prove to be distressing. The Social Work Department can help address such concerns and facilitate communication with other members of the medical team. When concerns arise about the safety or well-being of patients who may be experiencing abuse, neglect, or intimate partner violence, the Social Work Department can facilitate the reporting process and maintains a listing of resources to help children, vulnerable adults, and victims and/or survivors of intimate partner violence.

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Coping Skills

The Social Work Department helps patients cope with the adjustments associated with illness and assists with issues such as separation from home, family problems, employment concerns, and financial difficulties. Social workers can also recognize and enhance personal strengths, teach new coping skills, and foster supportive relationships.

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Family Support

The Social Work Department offers assistance to family members and/or significant others in coping with the many stresses associated with chronic or life-threatening illnesses and in locating resources that may help. Limited financial assistance may also be available in emergency situations.

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Prescription Assistance Program Enrollment

The Social Work Department in collaboration with the NIH Pharmacy Department provides assistance to research participants who are experiencing difficulty affording non-research medications.

If you are interested in a referral to this program, please talk to your NIH Provider.

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Advance Directives Assistance

The Clinical Center Nursing Department and the Social Work Department collaborate with NIH medical teams to facilitate patient education regarding advance directives.

Advance directives are written documents that allow individuals to specify in advance their preferences concerning their health care and/or research participation. Advance directives go into effect when individuals are unable to make or communicate their own decisions.

If you are interested in completing an Advanced Directives document, please contact your NIH Provider.

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Discharge Planning and Resource Referral

The Social Work Department assists with discharge planning and linkage to community-based resources. Some examples of this include:

Continuity of Care: Arrangements for transfers from hospital to community. For example:

  • Initiating home health care
  • Coordinating transfers to other facilities
  • Coordinating ordering and delivery of special equipment and supplies
  • Coordinating behavioral health placements

Community Resource Linkage: Connecting patients and families with agencies that provide:

  • Social services
  • Healthcare services
  • Mental health services
  • Prescription assistance
  • Advocacy
  • Medic Alert bracelets and monitoring

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This page last updated on 07/12/2023

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