The profession of Social Work is recognized in March. The theme for Social Work Month 2021 is Social Workers Are Essential. This is because social workers are essential to community well-being. According to the National Association of Social Workers, “as practitioners, social workers are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living. They are employed to effect positive change with individuals, families, groups and entire communities.”
At Health Services, Social Workers strive to identify and meet patient needs as a way of addressing social determinants of health. Health Services calls this approach Resources for Individual Support and Empowerment (RISE). The goal of RISE is to address the social needs of Health Services patients through screening and connection to resources, at both the Health Services facilities and in the community. For example, nursing staff, social workers and other staff at primary care clinics screen for food insecurity. Depending on patients’ answers to screening questions, they are provided with immediate resources, information about community resources or help with navigation to appropriate organizations or agencies. The staff use One Degree to help with navigation and referral to community-based organizations.
The Health Services Social Work teams work closely with inpatient care to help support discharge planning including the appropriate and timely transition to suitable settings, which has proved to be invaluable during the pandemic. In addition, Social Work teams help support mental health, crisis situations, substance use, social needs and a plethora of other services across the Emergency, Inpatient and Outpatient continuum. Social work teams are also available to support Health Services colleagues and have done so throughout the years and especially during the pandemic to promote overall wellness.
Health Services ordinarily holds events to celebrate the month. Although this year looks different and the Resource Fairs and other events had to be postponed, Health Services facilities are taking steps to recognize the significance of the work done by social workers throughout the department. The department is also hosting a Wellness seminar for Social Workers on March 31 via TEAMS.
Additionally, the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Social Work Department was represented at the Health Services Town Hall meeting to discuss the importance of addressing social needs within the communities we serve.
For additional information, please contact Charmaine Dorsey at: email@example.com