Home health social workers play an important role in healthcare. If there are challenges making it difficult for you to stay independent at home, Amedisys’ healthcare social workers can help you find solutions.
Working alongside nurses, home health aides and other members of the home health team, the home care social worker is by your side to help you navigate the healthcare system and get your needs met. For patients who meet the eligibility criteria, medical social services are typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid and many major insurance plans.
WHAT IS A MEDICAL SOCIAL WORKER?
Medical social workers are skilled professionals who offer emotional support, advocacy and resources to patients with chronic diseases or who are recovering from surgery, illness or injury.
They are problem solvers who identify issues that affect patients’ health and recommend solutions. Most home care social workers have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work. In most states, they must be licensed to practice.
Home health medical social workers typically work in patients’ homes. They may also provide care in senior living communities or group homes.
WHAT DOES A MEDICAL SOCIAL WORKER DO?
Medical social workers provide helpful information and assistance as you navigate the complexities that are sometimes involved in managing an illness or injury. They address the social, financial and psychological aspects of recovery and help you reach your goals.
For example, home care social workers may identify unmet social needs that make it difficult for you to manage your condition. These may include difficulty finding transportation to medical appointments, affording medications or preparing healthy meals. Home health care social workers can also support patients with symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health issues that impact their ability to manage a chronic illness.
IN-HOME CARE SOCIAL SERVICES
Your Amedisys home health social worker coordinates with you, your healthcare providers and other members of the home health team so you can receive care that best suits your needs. The social worker’s role in home health care is to provide:
- One-on-one education about health and wellness, tailored to patients’ needs, home routines and goals
- Counseling for emotional or mental health concerns
- Support with coping skills
- Advocacy for patients, helping to communicate their needs and any issues that may affect their care to the healthcare team
- Help accessing financial assistance and health insurance coverage
- Referrals to helpful community resources (e.g., healthy meals, transportation or social outlets like a local senior center)
- Help with planning for long-term care
To receive in home care social services, you must meet home health eligibility criteria and have a doctor’s order for skilled nursing or physical, occupational or speech therapy. The criteria include:
- You need skilled care such as nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy or an ongoing need for occupational therapy; and
- You’re under the care of a physician who has created a home health plan of care for you; and
- It’s difficult for you to leave home without assistance (for example, from another person or a device like a walker or wheelchair) or have a condition that makes leaving home medically unsafe.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM MEDICAL SOCIAL WORK
With Amedisys, home health social work starts with an assessment to understand your unique needs and goals. Social worker home visits typically last about an hour, depending on your needs and doctor’s orders.
Some common goals of medical social services are to help families cope with the challenges of caregiving and to help you:
- Feel heard and access the resources you need
- Cope with your illness
- Stay out of the hospital as much as possible
- Improve quality of life by meeting social and emotional needs
- Navigate the healthcare system
- Achieve the maximum level of independence, so you can stay home as long as possible
- Create a plan to achieve longer term goals
IS HOME HEALTH CARE AN OPTION FOR YOU
Managing an illness or recovering after a surgery or injury can be overwhelming. Our home health social workers can help you learn to manage your condition or navigate your recovery. To learn more, call an Amedisys home health agency near you or ask your doctor if you qualify for home health care.