What is a Geriatric Specialist Social Worker
First, it’s important to understand what a Geriatric Specialist Social Worker is before you understand the importance of their role. As a social worker who specializes in geriatric care they act much like the connecting puzzle piece in the entire picture of geriatric caregiving; often working as the person who helps keep everyone informed about the overall care of an individual.
The Role of a Geriatric Specialist Social Worker
- Supplement the services of others who are a part of your geriatric care team
- Help find and coordinate services and resources available to clients
- Identifying problems and problem areas
- Explaining medical terms and assessments to ensure the client and family understand what is happening or could happen
- Helping to address family concerns regarding the client
- Assess and identify geriatric issues; including signs of dementia, physical limitations, and disabilities
- Specific training on working with dementia patients; including assessment of the level of dementia and progress
- Administer screenings and exams that are created to determine a client’s level of caregiving needed, mental status, and possible mental health issues such as depression
- Helping in evaluating medicines to determine if there are possible interactions between drugs which may be causing the client to be physically or mentally affected by a combination of drug interactions or side effects of a particular drug
- Assist in keeping open lines of communication between the client, family and medical staff all involved in the care of the client
Where Do Geriatric Specialist Social Workers Work?
Generally speaking, a geriatric specialist social worker can work within the home of the client, at a clinic, or in a position at local geriatric centers that help seniors find resources. Often the social worker, because they are trained specifically in geriatrics, will find work within a caregiving company or assisted living facilities; depending upon their preference.
The National Association of Social Workers provides more information on what a geriatric specialist social worker is and how to qualify as one. You will find that the use of a social worker who specializes in geriatric care can be extremely helpful in keeping quality of life at its best as you age.
How to Become a Geriatric Specialist Social Worker?
Most states require a Master’s degree to be considered a Geriatric Specialist Social Worker. In California there are a number of criteria to become registered, as you can read here.
You can contact our office to find out more about bringing a Geriatric Specialist Social Worker into you or a loved one’s life.
Social Work Today, September/October 2014 Issue Vol. 14 No. 5 P. 34 “The Geriatric Social Worker — Working as Part of an Interdisciplinary Health Care Team” By Kathleen Holzaepfel, MSSW, LCSW, CSW-G, CMC
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