Celebrating Social Work Month

March 20, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

Each year, the month of March is dedicated to celebrating and honoring the work that social workers across the country are doing each and every day.

Michigan Medicine is home to more than 400 social workers, and the reach of the Department of Social Work across inpatient and outpatient settings is vast and ever growing.

The mission of social workers at Michigan Medicine is “to promote the health and well-being of patients, families, and communities across the lifespan.”

Social workers at Michigan Medicine accomplish this through direct clinical care in medical and mental health settings, program development, project management, academic and clinical research efforts, community outreach and leadership, advocacy and education.

Social workers in patient care:

In 2018, Michigan Medicine social workers invested more than 1.1 million hours of time in patient care, with more than 970,000 clinical interactions with patients and families. At least 55,000 unique patients received services provided by a social worker in 645 clinical areas across the health system.

Social workers serve the most vulnerable populations and, in 2018, there were 6,100 distinct patient referrals to the Guest Assistance Program, which is led and staffed by social workers, and harbors tangible resources to help reduce barriers to equal access to health care such as transportation, lodging and prescription assistance.

Social workers in education:

The health system partners not only with the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, but other academic institutions including Wayne State, Western Michigan, Michigan State and Eastern Michigan universities, to provide a robust and diverse student education program for Bachelors of Social Work and Master’s of Social Work students, as well as Ph.D. candidates and post-doctoral fellowships.

There are currently 66 social work interns in placements across the health system.

The Social Work Education Council also partners with the U-M Medical School, School of Pharmacy, Public Health, Nursing and Dental School to offer a variety of interprofessional education training opportunities. These programs foster a collaborative approach to training teams of expert health care practitioners who benefit from building on the professional values, ethics, communication skills and intercultural values held by a variety of professions.

Social workers in Care Management:

Within the inpatient settings at Michigan Medicine, Care Management social workers are responsible for addressing a variety of patient needs, which includes maintaining the social work intervention compliance for both the adult and pediatric Level 1 Trauma programs.

To maintain certifications for the health system for both of these programs, Social Work is required to complete standardized interventions around Substance Use/Abuse utilizing the SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment); an evidence based Motivational Interviewing Modality found to be highly effective in inpatient/short term settings.

Care Management social workers are also key in maintaining Michigan Medicine’s standing as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. This certification mandates that stroke patients receive social work services targeting post-stroke depression incidence and symptoms. Care Management social workers provide psychoeducation to all stroke patients on post-stroke depression symptoms, as well as evidence-based education derived from the Michigan Stroke Transitions Trial (MIST-T) on communicating with health care providers after stroke, organization strategies, physical and cognitive changes, and uncertainty.

Social workers across the U.S.:

On a national level, this year’s National Association of Social Workers Social Work Month theme is “Elevate Social Work.” The theme embodies the need to recognize the extraordinary contributions of the profession to society.

During the month of March, be sure to take time to celebrate the social workers you may know, learn more about the profession and support the work of social workers in improving the lives of individuals and families!