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How Do Social Workers Help Alzheimer’s Patients

What Do Social Workers In Healthcare Do

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The duties and responsibilities of a healthcare social worker change from patient to patient. Because every case is unique, social workers in healthcare must be able to adjust to a variety of needs. While its impossible to encapsulate every duty of a medical social worker, this article will explore some of the core responsibilities.

The Growing Need For Healthcare Social Workers

Ida Cannon may have been the first to dedicate her life to medical social work, but she was most definitely not the last. Over the last century, thousands have devoted their careers to helping patients and families in need. Medical social work is a continually growing field and one that is likely to expand as we develop a better understanding of the intersection of mental, physical, emotional and social health that provides a life-changing necessity for patients and gives many social workers a purpose.

Access To Health Care

Access to health care affects many facets of a persons physical and brain health. Consistent access to health care services gives people the opportunity for regular preventive health services and early diagnosis of many health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia. Access can also help prevent hospitalizations through the successful management of chronic health conditions. People with dementia often have one or more other chronic health conditions, and care coordination with providers and family care partners is essential to better care and improves health outcomes.


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Different Care Professionals You Will Meet

You will see professionals in a range of places, including hospitals and your home. Some will be NHS health professionals, including doctors and nurses. Others will be ‘allied health professionals, such as dentists.

You might also receive help from social care professionals. These are usually arranged through your local council.

Individual And Group Counseling

Understanding the Stages of Dementia

Patients and families often have issues coping with the treatments they must undergo. Because of this, medical social workers talk with patients individually to help them manage pain or other negative side effects. They may also organize and lead peer support groups to facilitate recovery.

For example, there are many peer groups for cancer patients going through chemotherapy, and these groups provide a way for them to share their experiences and get the emotional support they need.

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How To Find A Social Worker

For those interested in finding a dementia social worker, Epstein suggests looking online for community agencies, which often provide free social work services. State-funded initiatives, universities and clinical studies can also provide assistance. Private social workers or geriatric care managers are available as well, but can sometimes be more expensive.

Assessing The Patients Physical And Psychological Needs

Assessing the patients needs is usually the first duty of a medical social worker. This involves discussions with the patient, doctors, nurses and family members to get a thorough history of the case. Healthcare social workers discuss physical and mental ailments, and gain an understanding of their clients social, emotional and financial needs.

Once theyve done their initial assessment, a social worker can develop a personalized plan. This may involve helping to coordinate and communicate among the clients family and other health professionals as well as helping them find long-term support services, such as counseling or physical therapy.

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Social Services Support For Dementia

The adult social services department of your local council can help with your personal care and day-to-day activities.

For example, social services may offer to provide:

  • carers to help you with washing and dressing
  • laundry services
  • aids and adaptations
  • access to day centres

Social services can also give you information about local services and support, much of which is provided by charities, such as the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK.

It’s a good idea to find out if you do need help by getting a needs assessment from social services. This assessment could identify needs you may not have considered.

A needs assessment is free and anyone can ask for one.

If the assessment shows you need help with everyday tasks, a person from social services will discuss this with you, and a relative or carer. Together you can agree a joint plan of needs and how these will be met.

The next step is a financial assessment to check if the council will pay towards the cost of your care.

When Dealing With Social Services

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  • Be patient. If you have a query or problem you might have to repeat your story several times before you get the right help from the right person, but persistence usually pays off.
  • Be organised. Keep copies of forms, letters and any other information youve already been given.
  • Be positive. You might be pleasantly surprised by the variety of help on offer and the quality of the information and support you can access.

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Understanding And Supporting A Person With Dementia

This page can help you understand what a person with dementia is going through in order to give them the help and support they need to live well.

  • You are here: Understanding and supporting a person with dementia
  • Understanding and supporting someone with dementia

    Living with dementia can have a big emotional, social, psychological and practical impact on a person. Many people with dementia describe these impacts as a series of losses and adjusting to them is challenging.

    This page aims to give people – and carers in particular – a better understanding of what it is like to have dementia. It looks at ways to support someone to live well with the condition, based on that understanding. It also looks at how supporting someone with dementia can affect carers.

    Press the orange play button to hear an audio version of this page:

    Your Social Services Checklist

    1. Find the phone number

    Then add it to your contacts book you might need to use it quite a lot.

    2. Ask for an assessment

    If youve been diagnosed with dementia, you should receive a community care assessment. If you havent had an assessment yet, phone your local social services department and ask for one. If youre caring for someone with dementia you should have a carers assessment. If you havent, call social services to arrange one. A social worker should then contact you to sort out an appointment.

    3. Read the care plan

    Once the assessment is completed you should be given a care plan detailing what help the person with dementia needs and how the help will be provided. If you do qualify for free help you should also be offered the option of having a personal budget.

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    About Adelphis Online Msw

    The highly respected School of Social Work at Adelphi has a long history of producing leaders in social work and helping to shape social policies. Since 1951, we have continually been accredited by the Council on Social Work Education, and Adelphis Social Work graduate program is now ranked in the top 5% of the country, according to US News & World Report. Additionally, our faculty are expert practitioners and researchers, having published across the full range of topics within the fieldincluding disparities in healthcare, child advocacy, the role of social workers in shaping policies and more.

    Our Online Master of Social Work program brings the combined decades of expertise and legacy of Adelphis leading social work school to a flexible curriculum designed for working professionals. While the program is primarily delivered online, we include two annual, required on-campus experiences due to the importance of building relationships in the social work field. Many students tell us that the on-campus training is a highlight of their education.

    Along with the normal track, we also have an Advanced Standing option of our MSW program specifically designed for students who graduated from an accredited BSW program in the last five years. In this alternative, professionals have the opportunity to earn an MSW part-time in just 15 months.

    How Do Social Workers Work With Elderly

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    Social work with older adults is focused on helping them improve their quality of life. This can mean intervening in cases of elder abuse, connecting families of seniors to in-home care agencies, or providing referrals to various resources and social services for the elderly.

    Social work and social services for elderly people will consist of these main duties:

    Providing Information/Resources

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    Getting Help With Alzheimer’s Caregiving

    Some caregivers need help when the person is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Other caregivers look for help when the person is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. It’s okay to seek help whenever you need it.

    As the person moves through the stages of Alzheimer’s, he or she will need more care. One reason is that medicines used to treat Alzheimer’s disease can only control symptoms they cannot cure the disease. Symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion, will get worse over time.

    Because of this, you will need more help. You may feel that asking for help shows weakness or a lack of caring, but the opposite is true. Asking for help shows your strength. It means you know your limits and when to seek support.

    Supporting A Person With Dementia

    The way a person with dementia feels and experiences life is down to more than just having the condition.

    There are many other factors aside from the symptoms of dementia that play a huge role in shaping someone’s experience. These include the relationships the person has, their environment and the support they receive.

    Personal relationships and someone’s social environment are central to life, regardless of age or mental ability. People can recognise this by being as supportive as possible. Carers, friends and family, can help a person with dementia to feel valued and included. Support should be sensitive to the person as an individual, and focus on promoting their wellbeing and meeting their needs.

    When supporting a person with dementia, it can be helpful for carers to have an understanding of the impact the condition has on that person. This includes understanding how the person might think and feel, as these things will affect how they behave.

    The person may be experiencing a world that is very different to that of the people around them. It will help if the carer offers support while trying to see things from the perspective of the person with dementia, as far as possible.

    Each person is unique, with their own life history, personality, likes and dislikes. It is very important to focus on what the person still does have, not on what they may have lost. It is also important to focus on what the person feels rather than what they remember.

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    > > > Best Memory Loss Solution Available

    If youre experiencing memory loss, you should go to a doctor. Your doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms. He or she will also ask you about your medication and any stress youre experiencing. After the exam, he or she will likely ask you to make an appointment with a neuropsychologist. If youre unable to recall the details of your doctor, you may want to consult another healthcare provider.

    Advocating For Patients Rights

    Dementia Support Program Helps Patient and Family

    Most of all, social workers in healthcare serve as advocates for their clients rights. They work with doctors and nurses to make sure that patients are treated with respect and receive the appropriate care at every stage of the recovery process. This may include keeping doctors and nurses apprised of any obstacles a patient may have in following medical recommendations. For children, this may also include investigating child abuse or neglect and taking authorized action when necessary.

    According to the American Medical Association, patient rights include:

    • The right to courtesy, respect, dignity and attention to their needs.
    • The right to information about the benefits, risks and costs of treatment and alternatives.
    • The right to ask questions about their status and treatment plan.
    • The right to make decisions regarding their care.
    • The right to confidentiality.
    • The right to obtain copies of their medical records.
    • The right to a second opinion.
    • The right to be advised of any conflicts of interest their physician may have regarding their care.
    • The right to continuity of care and sufficient notice and assistance when alternative care arrangements are needed.

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    What Is The Role Of A Social Worker In The Care System

    It is vital that social workers develop an open, honest and transparent relationship with vulnerable children and their families when they are in crisis. Often, this care is provided as part of an extended family or by a foster parent, who can even lead to placement in an actual childrens residential home.

    Direct You To Helpful Services

    Beyond providing help by using their own knowledge, social workers can also point families to resources that they might not have realized existed. There are a wide variety of services to help people impacted by Alzheimers or dementia, ranging from community agencies to city- or state-wide free services to family support programs sponsored by universities.

    People dont know about all the resources available to help them, says Epstein. Social workers can help a family find these resources, and help through the progression because the challenges change over time .

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    Initial Causes How Do Social Workers Help Alzheimers Patients

    There are several different causes of memory loss. Some cause this condition in the young, while others may be more gradual. If you notice that your memory is weakening, its important to consult a medical professional. Whether the cause is mental illness, age, or a combination of factors, its important to seek treatment as soon as possible. People with extensive memory loss may have social difficulties and anxiety, which can lead to depression. They may be afraid they are letting their loved ones down, which can lead to anxiety and depression. How Do Social Workers Help Alzheimers Patients

    Fortunately, there are many causes of memory loss, and many of them are treatable. However, if you are experiencing serious memory problems, you may need medical treatment. If you have been undergoing any type of medication, you should consult with your doctor. Some people have other underlying conditions that may be causing their loss of memory. Alcohol abuse, sleep deprivation, or other mental health conditions can cause memory problems. You should seek out a medical professional if you suspect youre suffering from any of these conditions.

    What Are The Social Needs Of A Dementia Patient

    Local Non

    The brain functions better when communicating with people. It functions as a healthy means of exercising, making some symptoms such as dementia slower. Social engagement, on the other hand, improves self-esteem and improves sleep among people with dementia, who in fact, become more physically active, eat better, exercise more, and get more sleep.

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    Statement Of The Problem

    The severity of Alzheimers portends tremendous care needs. However, a review of existing Alzheimers research suggests care for patients with the disease is lacking. Knowledge in the medical community is vital to our understanding of how the disease evolves greater understanding of Alzheimers is especially important considering less than half of all people who currently experience Alzheimers symptoms recognize them as such .

    Bäckman et al. recognized that the multiple cognitive domains of memory are most appropriately addressed using a variety of measurement strategies, such as observations of word recall and face recognition. In this study, the authors used a meta-analysis to identify systematic differences in cognitive functioning among a sample of patients with preclinical impairment. Results suggested that memory-relevant regions in the medial-temporal lobe are indeed affected prior to the time at which dementia can be clinically diagnosed by todays standards . This review suggests the critical importance of early identification of symptoms. Early identification would further allow patients time to get their affairs in order. The aforementioned literature suggests changes are needed in our commitment to Alzheimers research and treatment. The HOPE for Alzheimers Act offered such an option.

    Coping Strategies For Alzheimer’s Disease Caregivers

    If you are a caregiver for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease , you may face difficult challenges as you try to provide care and understand the behavior changes of the person you are caring for. Understanding the behavior of a person with AD can help lessen these difficulties.

    People with AD may exhibit the following behaviors:

    • Extreme anxiety about daily life, which may be exhibited by asking questions and repeating information about once familiar events and/or people, preparing for appointments/day care well ahead of time and using notes and reminders endlessly.
    • Apathy or a lack of initiative about tasks that used to be routine, though now feel overwhelming. For example, the person who always enjoyed puzzles but no longer does them because they are too overwhelming and require skills he/she no longer possesses.
    • Frequent agitation may occur as people become less able to interpret their environment and control or express their feelings. For example, a person with AD may strike out at a caregiver.

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    Ways To Have Fun With Someone With Dementia

    Of course its beneficial for someone who has dementia to socialize with others, but what enjoyable activities can they specifically do? As discussed above, singing and listening to music have been shown to help with symptoms, and looking through old photo albums can stimulate memories in specific regions of the brain.

    Something even more fun, however, is playing games. As technology advances, people with dementia have a surprising amount of gameplay options.

    Video Games

    Easy-to-play video games for the iPad or other types of tablets are becoming more accessible for people who wouldnt normally be interested in gaming. Evidence-based activities like playing on a tablet can improve executive functions, including organization and planning, for people with dementia.

    A video game about cooking, for example, was developed to activate regions of the brain as the player simulates tasks associated with making food. Studies showed that people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimers disease engaged with the game and benefitted from playing.

    Other games that help people with dementia include Cognifit, which assesses memory and other thinking skills and then provides simple games to help train those parts of the brain, and Mindmate, which combines games with exercise, videos, and recipes.

    Board Games and Puzzles

    Dont Forget Exercise.


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