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Social Work Practice in Health Care Teaching Module

This module, developed as part of an online course, provides an overview of the issues social workers need to keep in mind when working with older adults in selected health care settings. It reviews the demographic changes related to aging and their implications for social workers in health care, focuses on knowledge needed by social workers to comprehensively assess the needs and resources of older persons, and provides a review of the available empirical literature on various domains of assessment. It includes learning objectives, activities, discussion points, lecture notes, case examples with discussion questions, and readings. The components of assessment addressed are related to physiological well-being and health, psychological well-being and mental health, cognitive capacity, functional ability, social functioning, physical environment, port, assessment of family and social support, economic resources, values and preferences, and spiritual assessment. The module further addresses depression in late-life, interventions for suicidal management, interventions for approaching the topic of late-life depression, and guidelines for referrals. Evidence-based interventions listed are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Problem-Solving Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), relaxation training, as well as adjunct written materials for clients and families, and pharmacologic treatments, including SSRIs.

Competencies Addressed in This Module:

  1. Assessing cognitive functioning and mental health needs of older adults, such as depression and dementia.
  2. Awareness of standardized assessment and diagnostic tools that are appropriate for use with older adults: depression scale, Mini-Mental Status Exam.
  3. Relating social work perspectives and theories to practice with older adults.

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Healthcare and Aging