The mission of the department is to ensure high quality, comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care by providing services that educate, assist and support individuals and families during their experiences with trauma, illness or disease, hospitalization and community-based care. The mission assumes a commitment to: excellence in patient care, integrity in social work practice, a collaborative, interdisciplinary provider system, collegial ties to academia, coordination with community organizations and resources, increased access and restrained costs.
Education, professional development and research underpin the department's commitment to excellence in medical social work, both administratively and clinically. The department focuses on social functioning and the recognition of the relationship between social and emotional factors and illness. Social workers understand the crucial importance of the dynamics in relationships between and among patients and significant others in their lives, and the manner in which these relationships support or impede the progress of the healing process.
The DSW staff consists of 37 licensed masters' level social workers: two masters' level administrators; 4 master's level manager/clinicians and 2 support staff. All professional staff has varied involvement in organization/committee/task forces internal and external to the Medical Center.
Assessment of patient care requirements are determined by interviews with patients and families, consultation with interdisciplinary staff, multidisciplinary rounds, chart reviews and telephone contacts with community agencies. Treatment strategies include strength based-counseling; crisis intervention; conflict management with families; support groups; grief counseling and education regarding community resources. Social workers attend weekly discharge planning rounds and medical rounds when indicated. Documentation is routinely completed for all psychosocial assessments as well as follow-up contacts with patients and families. Documentation is completed in the medical chart on patient plans of care, progress notes and patient education forms.
All social workers within the Medical Center are clinicians who have been trained at the masters level and licensed in the state of Maryland. Hospital and departmental orientation is provided to staff in addition to annual training and appropriate competency validation. All social workers receive ongoing professional training and development in order to provide the appropriate clinical intervention to meet each individual patients needs. Social workers are expected to obtain ongoing professional education in order to meet Maryland licensing requirements for Continuing Education Units.
Staffing requirements are determined by patient volumes, the number of social work referrals per month and complexity of referrals. An unusually high volume of referrals for social work service in a particular clinical area is met through the rotation of social work staff to the needed service area. Social work caseloads and needs of clinical areas are re-evaluated on a regular basis to insure that sufficient social work service is available to all areas of the Medical Center.
The extent to which social work services meet patient and family needs is regularly evaluated by performance measures, customer satisfaction surveys and outcome measures. Indicators utilized include social work documentation monitors, patient satisfaction surveys, staff (interdisciplinary team) satisfaction surveys, patient volumes and evidence based practice measures. Quality of social work services is evaluated based on thresholds established for each indicator.
The Department of Social Work complies with the Medical Center Hospital Policy Manual, the Medical Center Nursing Practice Manual, and all federal, state, and regulatory standards to guide practice. All social workers are licensed by the State of Maryland at the LGSW or LCSW-C level. All supervisors within the Department of Social Work are registered with the Maryland State Board of Social Work Examiners.