Patients and families coming through our doors are often at a crossroads. When people are ill - either acutely or chronically - circumstances or complexities in their pre-illness lives can interfere with their health, well- being and recovery. Social workers have an opportunity to intervene at this critical time.
Imagine being the family member of an accident victim called into the emergency department (ED) in the evening. You feel overwhelmed and unsure what to do. Physicians and nurses are extremely busy providing acute medical care. With no social work staff in the ED after 5 p.m., when many trauma cases occur, you may not have someone to expertly help you to deal with the crisis.
With reduced staff, our capacity, particularly on the inpatient units and in the ICUs, had been limited. Is the family of an ICU patient faced with difficult decisions about continued treatment or palliative care? Can the family of an elder with dementia safely care for him at home? Where will a family in financial need find the funds to pay for much-needed medication? These situations arise every day, every hour.
All of our social work staff are incredibly talented, hard-working and committed to a wide range of services that includes crisis intervention, short-term counseling, information and referral, and education and training. In addition to direct services, the department facilitates an array of support groups and special programs including the Room Away from Home Program, DriveWise, and the Celebration of Life event.
The decision to maintain and reinvest in social work services is a testament to BIDMC's commitment to caring.