NTOCC Lauds Tools Support

NASW was recognized at a recent meeting of the National Transitions of Care Coalition Advisory Task Force for developing a cultural competency tool and for assisting in the creation of a patient hospital guide.

NASW developed the NTOCC cultural competence tool, which draws on the association's standards and indicators for the achievement of cultural competence in social work practice, to educate health care professionals about the topic as it influences transitions of care. The resource includes basic information about culture and cultural competence, as well as strategies to enhance professionals' cultural competence. The document concludes with a list of resources related to culturally and linguistically competent health care delivery.

The NTOCC patient hospital guide, on the other hand, educates consumers and family caregivers on how they can help make hospital care safe and effective. The guide provides tips on how to prepare for hospitalization, how to communicate with health care providers during hospitalization, how to prepare for discharge and how to manage one's health care following hospital discharge. The hospital tool also includes "Taking Care of MY Health Care," which addresses a range of biopsychosocial health-related concerns.

Both NTOCC tools are expected to be posted on NTOCC's Web site for consumer use, said Chris Herman, senior practice associate for aging at NASW.

In an effort to help guide social workers with aging topics, the association issued two new practice updates in October.

The first, "Social Work and Transitions of Care," outlines how older adults and family caregivers experience transitions of care throughout the continuum of health and behavioral health care.

"Social workers play an integral role in preventing and addressing problems related to care transitions," the practice update states, citing research to support the role of social work in care transitions. The document, written by Herman, highlights NASW activities and resources related to transitions of care, such as the multiple tools the association has helped develop with NTOCC.

The second practice update is "Biopsychosocial Challenges Related to Transitions of Care."

That document, also written by Herman, points out a study that estimates every hospital patient is likely to experience at least one medication error daily and that approximately 7,000 people die from medication errors each year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The update describes several psychosocial issues underlying transitions of care. For example, it explains that inadequate preparation of and support for family caregivers can lead to problematic care transitions.

"Family caregivers constitute the backbone of the U.S. health and long-term care system, providing emotional support, medication, administration, personal care, health care monitoring, advocacy, coordination of care, medical decision making, household tasks, transportation, help with insurance and other paperwork, financial assistance, and other tasks," the update states. "Their involvement has been shown to improve transitions of care."

The document ends with a different list of resources related to transitions of care. One of those resources is a policy briefing paper, "Social Work and Care Coordination,"

Written in conjunction with the National Coalition for Care Coordination, which is sponsored by the Social Work Leadership Institute at the New York Academy of Medicine, the paper describes the unique skills social workers bring to care coordination, said Herman.

Finally, an NASW Lunchtime Teleconference, "Transitions of Care: Critical Issues for Social Work Intervention with Older Adults," was presented by Herman recently.

Participants can earn 1.0 CE upon successful completion of an online test after reviewing the teleconference.