How Social Workers Complement In-Home Care

Four smiling people sitting on couch with social worker with caregiver to her right talking to client and her adult son

When a loved one has a life changing event affecting their health or mobility, for example, often a social worker is whom the family contacts first for direction on how to best care for their loved one.

Social workers work with clients to assess their needs and help them access services and resources that help improve their quality of life. Social workers help people and families set goals, solve problems and ensure they get the care they need. They can offer hospice, home health and personal care, plus companionship services.

The ability to mediate, design and facilitate healthy dialogue with the family is a terrific tool for social workers when coordinating care. This type of communication keeps all parties involved on the same page.

To complement home care, social workers work in tandem with in-home caregivers. They provide care instructions for the caregivers to follow, check in on progress and make adjustments if needed.

How do caregivers differ from social workers?
Consider social workers as the traffic cops who assess the traffic and direct it accordingly to smooth out traffic jams or summon needed resources such as tow trucks to remove obstacles. Social workers do just that—create the best path of care for their clients, removing obstacles and using resources for the best outcomes.

Caregivers arrive on the scene to care for the client as instructed by the social worker. Insurance limits the amount of visits a social worker can make to a client’s home, so it’s important that the caregiver and social worker work together to ensure their client is living his or her best life.

Essentially, social workers assess the client, identify their needs and use their vast resources to direct care. Caregivers follow the directions of social workers to ensure the client lives his or her best life. Social workers and caregivers working together is critical to the client living their best life.

In-home care without social workers
Those seeking care at home don’t always have the guidance of a social worker, especially when there’s been a gradual decline in a loved one’s health. The decline has allowed the family time to do their own research in terms of the kind of care that is needed. Many seek home care occasionally and ramp up in-home care as the decline intensifies.

As a client’s health declines, some engage a social worker who is well connected to the types of resources the client may need in addition to those of daily living that home care caregivers provide.

Another plus of having a social worker in the home is that they are trained to identify needs such as nutritional issues, whether prescribed medication is taken as prescribed, if they are able to get to doctor’s appointments, etc. If discovered, these can be indications of an underlying issue that is preventing the client from living their best life. A social worker can identify these issues and use their many resources to correct the problems. The in-home caregiver works in tandem with the social worker to ensure their safety and best living situation.

Social workers and in-home caregivers work together
The caregiver and social worker have one focus: their client.

The social worker uses skills and resources to create care plans that provide the best possible life for their client.

In tandem, the caregiver works hard by putting the social worker’s care plan into action.

It doesn’t stop there, as the caregiver and social worker often remain in contact to discuss the client’s care and progress, making adjustments when needed.

The main goals of these two important parts of the caregiving team are similar. The social worker finds resources to put the client in the best possible position and guides the caregiver to implement or take advantage of these resources. Caregivers put the social worker’s programs and knowledge into action.

Social workers help their clients get the most out of their in-home care. Social workers and in-home caregivers work well together.
National Social Work Month