Social Workers in Integrated Health Care: Improving Care

Social workers perform not just one, but a number of functions at once in the healthcare system. Their participation is integral to promoting the health of patients and participating in their maintenance according to the article Social workers in integrated health care: Improving care throughout the life course by Zerden et al. Over the next 5 years, it is expected that the number of social workers in medicine will only increase because their role in integrated teams can allow achieving maximum results in the treatment of the physical and psychological health of patients, which are interconnected (Saxe Zerden et al., 2019). Therefore, the role of social workers is important and integral to both patient care and the development of the health sector.

The role of social workers should be clearly defined, and their functions should be highlighted both for themselves and for other health workers in order to understand the delineation of functions of the position of a social worker. Social workers act as an intermediate link between existing medical resources and clients (Saxe Zerden et al., 2019). They provide consultations, assess the condition of clients, provide psychological assistance to patients and their families, and perform many other functions.

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It is evident that one of the most important functions of social workers is the coordination of processes. Coordination is an integral process in any business, since without it, there will be no interaction between employees and, accordingly, full-fledged customer satisfaction and the achievement of an optimal level of service are impossible. It is social workers who can build the entire infrastructure of the hospitalization process, provide care and achieve patient satisfaction (Saxe Zerden et al., 2019). Additionally, they are essential at advocating for patients’ interests in clinic placement, in providing resources or financial assistance, and other aspects of health support required.

At the same time, it is important to provide resources for social workers to develop themselves and maintain their optimal performance. In addition, social workers should be well trained in behavioral health work. The construction of a behavioral health education system for the participants in the health care system should consist of many factors, including various teaching methods such as simulations and online courses, as well as working in inter-professional teams, using the strengths of the family concept, and much more (Saxe Zerden et al., 2019). For people with behavioral health disorders, a complex approach and interprofessional collaboration of staff are important.

An integrated health care system involves interaction between different teams that perform various functions within it. This interprofessional interaction creates the need for ongoing research that shows the results and the very process of interaction between social workers and other employees. This allows an understanding of the return of investment into their work and contributes to the further expansion of the inclusion of social workers in teams of medical or related institutions (Saxe Zerden et al., 2019). Defining the role of social workers is important for not only themselves and their colleagues, but also for management and investors in commercial health care enterprises in deciding whether to hire social workers.

In conclusion, global awareness of the role of social workers is important. They are not only an integral part of many teams, but also perform irreplaceable functions of coordinating processes, communicating with patients, providing an adequate level of patient service, and accompanying them. The involvement of social workers has increased importance and added value for the functioning of the health system, and it is an interprofessional exchange and awareness-raising that increases the recognition of their value.

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Reference

Saxe Zerden, L., Lombardi, B.M., & Jones, A. (2019). Social workers in integrated health care: Improving care throughout the life course. Social Work in Health Care, 58(1), 142-149. Web.

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