What Does a Geriatric Social Worker Do?

A geriatric social worker is someone who works directly with older clients. In the social work field, clients refer to the individuals who professionals work with on a daily basis. Social workers usually need at least a bachelor’s degree, but most specialized positions require a Master of Social Work (MSW) too. While in graduate school, students have the chance to specialize their degrees and do a practicum or an internship that helps them gain experience working with older people. These social workers help clients with their daily needs and often handle a number of duties in the field.

Medical Help

One of the more important ways in which these social workers help their clients is with their medical needs. Many MSW holders work in hospitals and other facilities. They work with the client’s doctors to determine what needs the individual has while in the hospital and later on. Social workers can make arrangements for a client to receive help from a traveling nurse who comes in daily. They can also assist clients in finding medical devices and other items that they can use at home, including shower chairs and wheelchairs.

Financial Support

Not everyone who seeks help from a social worker has good private insurance. Social workers often work with patients who have government insurance or no insurance at all. They can help their clients find ways to pay for the treatments and anything else they might need. This can involve signing the individual up for government health insurance or finding nonprofit programs that cover some of their medical costs. Social workers who work with older clients also provide their clients with other resources that they can use such as helping them sign up for food stamps or other government programs. They must know the steps required to sign up for any of these programs.

Assessing Client Needs

According to Social Work Today, assessing the needs of each individual client is one of the first things that a geriatric social worker will do. The social worker will sit down with the client to go over his or her needs and then come up with a plan that includes all the treatments and services that a doctor recommends. Those who work outside of a hospital or a healthcare setting can help clients create a list of other things they need such as access to social activities and help with daily living.

Other Tasks and Duties

Those who work with geriatric clients are also responsible for helping clients with their daily needs. This might include having a caretaker come to the home to make sure the individual eats and bathes regularly or providing the client with access to an elderly center. Elderly centers often offer fun activities and programs for those of an advanced age that allows them to spend time with others in the same age range. Social workers can also provide help and assistance to the loved ones of their patients and go over the needs of those individuals.

Related Resource: Top 10 Affordable Master of Social Work Online (MSW) Degrees

The social work field today consists of a number of specialized jobs. Students can choose to work with a specific age range or type of group. A geriatric social worker is someone with advanced training who works with elderly clients who are usually over the average retirement age.