Having a medical social worker as part of an interdisciplinary treatment team, can be a great benefit to a patient and his/her family. The social worker can help the patient to understand the selected course of treatment and is often involved in discharge planning and patient advocacy. The social worker also gives emotional support and counseling to patients and their families.
How can you help your patients find a medical social worker? There are many places to find professional social workers who provide individual psychotherapy and other forms of mental health assistance, including group therapy and support groups. If you do not have a social worker in your referral network, here are a few suggestions you can offer your patients:
- Talk to trusted friends, family, or clergy about professionals they may know
- Ask your health insurance company for a mental health provider list
- Use a referral service from a national professional organization such as the National Association of Social Work’s “Help Starts Here” [ www.helpstartshere.org ]
- Contact a local or national mental health organization or national medical society
- Look in the phone book under “social service organizations” and “mental health”
Do you know some social workers who need to learn more about bone marrow failure diseases? Encourage them to attend one of our patient and family conferences and check out the resources on the AA&MDSIF website. They learn while they earn CEU's!