Medical Social Work
Medical social workers specialize in public health, geriatric, palliative, and inpatient medical or mental health care. They work in hospitals or other specialized medical settings like nursing homes, rehabilitative care centers, or related home-care services (i.e. hospice).
Some medical social workers are very specialized (i.e. a social worker that serves only patients awaiting transplants or babies receiving neonatal care) while others may serve a larger variety of clients with ongoing medical issues. Medical social workers often collaborate with other medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, discharge coordinators, administrative staff and physical therapists as part of an interdisciplinary team.
They are primarily involved in preparing patients for life after leaving a residential setting and providing support to clients and family members in the forms of discharge planning, psychosocial counseling, grief counseling, case management, and referrals. Certain issues addressed by medical social workers include terminal illness, catastrophic disability, end of life decisions, homelessness, independent living resources, medication adherence and management, or suicidality.