Social workers can help with planning for your return home.

Darby Morhardt, PhD, an expert on social work and family caregivers, talks about how social workers can assist you and your family.

Social workers help look at the impact of health and illness on you as an older adult and how it’s affecting you and your entire family. They also are focused on helping you enhance your well-being and help to meet your basic needs for you and your family. Social workers do this in many ways and in many different settings. Here are a few, but I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list. If you are hospitalized, social workers can be consulted to work with you, to talk with you about the impact of your illness on your ability to function in the way you were functioning prior to going into the hospital. With aging, one can become more vulnerable to deconditioning and losing function in the hospital and you may require more help returning home. Sometimes, you need to go to a rehabilitation facility before returning home. The social worker will work with you and your doctor to determine what is the best plan and will help you link with the resources that you need to remain as independent as possible. In some settings, social workers will contact you after leaving the hospital to determine whether the plan is working and to help make adjustments as needed. A social worker is also someone who is skilled at working with you on how the illness is impacting your emotional well-being. A social worker can be your counselor around these issues, or can link you with counselors in the community who can help you deal with the changes and losses that you may be experiencing as you age.

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