Back in the 80s and 90s eating disorders had risen to epidemic proportions among teen-age girls. In fact, most used the mirror as a tool for taking stock of their worth conducting a critical search for flaws, fat, and proof of their failure to live up to the standards they had set for themselves. Their hunger for perfection and acceptance was insatiable, giving rise to body shame, self-loathing, anxiety, and life-threatening bouts of anorexia and bulimia.
Joan began her career in the helping professions as a nurse in small town New England. A critical shortage of obstetric facilities and practitioners motivated her to specialize as a midwife eventually opening a private practice that thrived for many years. But vulnerable populations pressed in from all sides, and Joan went back to school to get her MSW, enabling her, as she saw it, to respond to need wherever she found it. A few years later she returned to school again to become a Nurse Practitioner and work in the field of behavioral health.
The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in the age of telehealth. Perhaps too quickly in many cases, but most clinicians agree that without the nudge from COVID-19 they never would have encouraged the widespread use of telehealth. The coronavirus changed that in an instant, significantly accelerating the adoption of telebehavioral health services. Statewide lockdowns forced providers to find virtual means of meeting with clients and appointments were moved to the telephone and /or video chats.
Health care social workers who support medical professionals are reporting a dramatic increase in burnout in America's nursing community. They say that the rapidly escalating surge in COVID-19 infections across the U.S. has caused a shortage of nurses and other front-line staff in virus hot spots that can no longer keep up with the flood of unvaccinated patients and are losing workers to burnout.
Not long ago, addiction recovery meant signing in to a “rehab”, attending daily meetings with your peers, intensive face-to-face therapy sessions with an addiction therapist, and reading the Big Book to guide you along the 12-Step path. The recovery process could take months or even years before the addict or alcoholic was declared ready to go it alone. Then, the pandemic.
The nation's health care system is once again faced with overwhelming need pressing against limited resources. Medical professionals, including health care social workers, are forced to make hard choices that test the ethical boundaries of medical arbitrage. The scenarios below are all real-life situations communicated to GVT by health care social workers in the past month.
With 88% of 15,400 Medicare and Medicaid-eligible nursing homes reporting as of May 31, Medicare officials rolled out a federal database showing that the nation's nursing homes had 95,515 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 58,288 suspected cases, and more than 31,782 deaths among residents and staff. The Kaiser Family Foundation quickly amended the government’s admittedly incomplete statistics reporting more than 43,000 deaths, over a third of the nation’s known coronavirus deaths.
The Corona Virus pandemic has swooped down on the human race like a tornado onto a small Midwestern trailer park. Its impact has been sudden, uncontrollable, devastating, life-changing, and fear inducing. The entire human race has reacted.
Throughout 2019, we endeavored weekly to tell the social worker's story in a way that chronicled the impact of your dedicated efforts on the welfare of the American family.
In our 2015 report, The Aging Tidal Wave, we dealt with the healthcare crisis that was about to overwhelm the long-term care industry. The aging baby-boomer population was growing rapidly while the number of caregivers was actually declining.