The Geriatric Social Work Specialist in Assisted Living facilities
Posted March 8, 2016

What is a Geriatric Social Work Specialist?

A Geriatric Social Work Specialist is an important piece of the senior care puzzle and especially helpful when utilized in assisted living facilities. They are licensed by the Department of Health in the state in which they work.

  • Education – The level of education needed may vary according to state and/or facility but a minimum of having a Bachelor’s Degree. They are specialized in working with the many facets of aging.
  • Team Skills – The Geriatric Social Work Specialist learns a specific set of skills that will compliment others in the facility working with the residents. These skills generally help the staff, healthcare advisers, healthcare workers, residents and family all “get on the same page” so to speak; ensuring that the overall care of the resident is being addressed.
  • Specialized Training – As a Geriatric Social Work Specialist they are trained specifically to work with those 65 and over, and/or those who may have dementia, Alzheimer’s and other health issues specific to aging. Another area they may specialize in can include mental health; which also encompasses dementia care but can include senior depression and more.
  • Continuing Aging Issues – They are specially trained in working with issues of aging which can include:
    • Counseling
    • Transitioning from assisted living Care to Long-Term Care
    • Transitioning from Long-Term Care to Hospice (if needed)
    • Liaison between client, family, facility, and healthcare specialists
  • Paperwork/Filing – As you may know, there is usually a lot of confusing paperwork that goes with everything involving aging and taking part in many programs offered. Your Geriatric Social Worker is well versed and usually quite experienced in what forms need filled out and how to fill them out in order to most likely to be accepted the first time through the system.
  • Resources – These specially trained social workers can help direct you, your loved one, and your family to valuable resources that may be needed throughout the aging process.
  • Counseling – There are a number of areas that can require geriatric counseling during aging. Counseling can begin with the resident to the family and even include any communication with the staff so that everyone is informed.
  • Hospice – There are times when one moves through assisted living care to hospice care in a fairly short time. During times like these the Geriatric Social Worker can help with obtaining hospice care, funeral preparation, and direction for legal issues.

It’s easy to see how important the Geriatric Social Work Specialist in assisted living facilities can be a very integral part of a positive experience.

Photo by zstupar / Pixabay
Cited Works:
Social Work Today, September/October 2014 Issue, The Geriatric Social Worker — Working as Part of an Interdisciplinary Health Care Team By Kathleen Holzaepfel, MSSW, LCSW, CSW-G, CMC Social Work Today
Vol. 14 No. 5 P. 34

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