Over the years, social work has evolved into a profession that has responded to social and economic changes and sought to address the needs of the population with the ultimate goal of improving their well-being. The clinical social work role at HSS remains true to this spirit. As we seek to support our patients especially when they feel most vulnerable, our goal is to engage and empower patients to be partners in their care and recovery. We uphold the mission, vision, and values of HSS as well as our professional code of ethics in all that we do. Here are some facts you may not know about licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) that help illustrate our role in overall patient care:
- LCSWs, along with a registered nurse, are part of the case management department pre-admission group. They call an assigned group of surgeon’s patients to begin the discharge planning discussion prior to their procedure in order to optimize their surgical experience.
- Once the patient arrives for their procedure, inpatient LCSW clinical intervention is sought out for more complex psychosocial issues.
- Common areas of concern for patients include: psychological well-being, communication, finance/insurance matters, a hospital experience, recovery and return to desired activities of living.
- LCSWs are clinically trained to assess and address mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), along with the patient’s confidence and outlook. Addressing these issues is key when setting realistic expectations and removing barriers for a successful discharge.
- Partnering with the patient is central to patient-centered care. Empowering an individual when they are feeling most vulnerable has tremendous value, especially since our goal is to return our patients to independent living and improved quality of life. With patient permission, family is often involved in the discharge planning discussion.
- Many patients exhibit increased anxiety during their surgical experience and request continued emotional support and education. Sometimes patients also lack support systems and can benefit from the continued availability of the pre-admission team. Supportive counseling and compassion fosters coping skills, helping patients move forward.
- The LCSW skill set encompasses the clinical expertise to counsel patients, the knowledge base to provide concrete services, and the judgement to refer to other appropriate clinicians or organizations. Collaboration is an essential component of discharge planning.
From pre-admission to discharge, LCSWs are an integral part of the larger interdisciplinary team at HSS. LCSWs understand the importance of communication between disciplines, patient/family and staff, and outside agencies. Each of these play a vital role in patient care and a successful outcome.
Laura Jasphy, Ed.D., LCSW, has served in the roles of Licensed Clinical Social Worker, patient educator, guided imagery practitioner, and Lifestyle Wellness Coach at HSS since earning her Master of Science at Columbia University School of Social Work in 1995. She earned her doctoral degree in health education from Teachers College Columbia University and holds post-graduate certifications in health coaching from The Cooper Institute, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) from the Albert Ellis Institute and psychoanalytic practice from National Institute for the Psychotherapies (NIP). She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in NY State and has contributed to numerous seminars, publications, and apps in the areas of goal setting, stress management, body image, and issues relating to chronic illness and disability. She has more than 20 years’ experience working with surgical patients and their caregivers.