National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
Taking social risk factors into account is critical to improving the prevention and treatment of acute and chronic illness. Social workers are specialists in providing social care who have a long history of working within health care delivery, and in-depth training and credentialing. With expertise in patient and family engagement, assessment, care planning, behavioral health, and systems navigation, social workers identify and address multiple factors that contribute to health and well-being.
Carrie Dorn, MPA, LMSW
NASW played a lead role in conceiving and funding The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Consensus Study Report, Integrating Social Care into the Delivery of Health Care: Moving Upstream to Improve the Nation’s Health. This landmark report recognizes that social workers are specialists in identifying and addressing social needs, and it includes numerous recommendations to ensure that the nation’s health care systems address the many factors that contribute to health.
On April 16th each year, NASW celebrates National Healthcare Decisions Day to empower individuals to engage in advance care planning (ACP). As individuals, families, and communities face the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of conversations about health care treatment preferences comes into new focus. During this public health emergency, health care social workers have a crucial role in communicating pertinent health information to family members and loved ones and advocating on behalf of patients in health settings.
During the COVID-19 crisis, states are leveraging the Medicaid program to expand health insurance coverage, respond to the health needs of individuals, and ease practice restrictions. These measures inform social work services, and they support efforts to minimize health risks for providers and clients. With varied responses at the state level, best practices are emerging and informing advocacy opportunities.
NASW is pleased that the Trump Administration has withdrawn an anticipated proposed rule calling for additional Medicaid eligibility restrictions.
Social workers, like many health and behavioral health professionals, are concerned about the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on their well-being, the people to whom they provide services, their families, and others in the community.
Social workers are in a unique position to promote disease prevention efforts (including disseminating accurate information from trusted sources), and to help address anxiety and other concerns that are arising as a result of this public health crisis.
This publication uses Emile Durkheim’s theory of suicide to understand suicidal distress and to identify circumstances that create suicide potential in the elderly.
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