The country’s psyche has put the pandemic aside. Even with the virus still circulating Americans have put away their masks and come out to play. This ability to quickly recover from even the most devastating traumas marks the American character. We’re always ready to move on to new business.
In the beginning, pioneering social workers responded to the most critical and immediate needs of the destitute, the homeless, and orphans. But as the 20th century wore on social services recognized a more nuanced and complex catalogue of vulnerabilities. Social workers, aid organizations, government agencies, and communities began to support people presenting a complexity of needs like poverty brought on by addiction and child abuse resulting from mental illness or homeless juvenile offenders fighting to escape the drug culture they were raised in.
The word hospice derives from the Latin, hospitum, meaning hospitality or place of rest and protection for the ill and weary. When people think about hospice care, they usually think of services being delivered in a patient's home or a freestanding hospice facility. Many are surprised to learn that the Hospice Medicare Benefit, a primary payer of hospice services, allows for hospice care in assisted living facilities (ALFs) and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), the latter of which are commonly referred to as nursing homes.
We recently interviewed a retired social worker who spent her entire 30-year career working with addicts and alcoholics in residential treatment centers. We were seeking insight into the drug and alcohol abuse epidemic that seems to be getting worse every year. The insights she shared rang with understanding, empathy, and a double dose of common sense.
Immigration is again a polarizing political debate with forgotten human beings caught in the middle. It doesn't matter which side of the debate you're on, the fact remains there are approximately 2 million undocumented immigrants younger than 24 existing in limbo in the United States. This largely innocent population is made more vulnerable by a divisive debate that intensifies the risk of deportation and reduces access to resources and support. Social workers consider it their principled responsibility to support the vulnerable at all levels in society, so parties on either side of the so-called “open borders” debate leave it to social workers to do what they can to help the people caught in the middle.
Addiction is a disease, not a crime. The American Society of Addiction Medicine recognizes addiction as “a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences.”
Case notes are an essential component of case management. Indeed, social work is heavily reliant on record keeping, which includes case notes.
They assist in making decisions and planning by helping to make sense of the details in a case. This is why most social workers are trained and strive to keep high-quality case notes in order to better assist their clients.
Furthermore, modern case management software for social workers assists caseworkers in creating better case notes.
We are quite surprised but pleased by our readers' enthusiastic response to our recent blog on forensic social work. Social workers and workers from other professions were so intrigued by the work that forensic social workers do within the criminal justice system that they asked if we would flesh out a little more the career details of the forensic social work specialty. If you're considering a career in forensic social work, here's an overview you may find helpful.
There are over 111,565 forensic social workers currently employed in the United States, but few people have any idea what they do. Forensic social workers are involved in both criminal and civil cases that can include termination of parental rights, juvenile and adult justice services, corrections, and mandated treatment. They fight against oppression that is exhibited through exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, violence, criminalization, and cultural dominance or imperialism. Forensic social workers assist individuals of all ages, handling child custody, juvenile arrest, and child maltreatment, elder abuse, divorce, civil disputes and criminal offending and imprisonment. As counselors they may provide psychosocial counseling, group counseling or mediation services. As a case manager or liaison, they link the legal world with the field of social work. They may be employed across a wide variety of settings such as court systems, mental health agencies, rehabilitation centers, correctional facilities, hospitals, child and family agencies, prisons, and faith-based institutions.
Tom Wolfe labeled the baby boomers the "Me" generation and the label has been applied to every generation since. GenZers and Millennials have been accused of pathological self-involvement and narcissism resulting from the "helicopter" parents that raised them. This blog thinks, however, that this continued characterization is unfair and would like to recount a story about kindness and empathy across generations.