The focus of Social Services at Silvercrest is upon the emotional and social needs of a very diverse population of individuals who live with physical or mental illness or disability. Our social workers are both counselors and coordinators of care, and are called upon to keep a myriad of issues under consideration when assisting each of the residents they serve.
Social Services staff have a hand in virtually all aspects of our residents' daily lives. They begin their involvement at admission by obtaining a complete social history and performing a full psycho-social evaluation of the new resident. A key responsibility in this early time is to assist the resident and his family in adjusting to the new life within Silvercrest. Education regarding patient rights, health directives and healthcare proxies is also of prime importance.
Social workers actively participate in the formulation of the comprehensive Clinical Care Plan (CCP) and facilitate communications between providers from different disciplines and the resident and family. They also are valuable counselors to residents and work together with psychology and psychiatry staff on various resident mental health issues.
Social workers assist in the process of discharge planning, producing the comprehensive assessments needed to generate the home care plan. Among Silvercrest's special resources is a full-time, nurse/case manager who works with Social Services to coordinate resident discharge and post-discharge care. Social workers carefully follow up to make certain that discharged residents receive all appropriate services once they are home.
Long Term Care Residents
Social service staff help in providing access to community resources from which residents may benefit. They contribute as team members with psychologists and psychiatrists treating residents with depression and work with attorneys, legal authorities and resident families on issues such as guardianship and end of life legal matters.
Ventilator Care Patients
Social workers coordinate communications between families, residents and the many-membered clinical care team. They assist families with disability applications and help with many other issues regarding resident insurance coverage.
Young residents can have particular problems adjusting to life within an extended care facility. To help address this problem, the social service team provides a young people's support group. Using this as a model, plans are under way to develop a similar forum for the families of residents in the dementia program.
Social Services also conducts the monthly "Residents' Council," attended by all interested Silvercrest residents. Here, broad education programs are presented, and feedback from any and all interested parties is chronicled. The quarterly "Family Council" allows residents and their loved ones to hear from department heads on a rotating basis, and gives all the opportunity to ask questions, express concerns and network with others.
News bureaus describe the aging of the "Baby-Boom" generation as the "graying of America." Silvercrest is poised to do its part in the education of those who will see to the needs of this group, providing comfort, dignity and support.
Among the things that many people have difficulty talking about is what medical care decisions they would like made for them, should they become unable to direct their own care. Discussions between every individual and a trusted friend or relative should ideally begin long before that person's medical status has been compromised. Living wills and health care proxies should be used to codify verbal understandings arrived upon through a process carried out over long periods of time. It may also be appropriate for such documents to be amended as a person's situation and attitudes evolve.
End of life issues include the need for excellent palliative care, the purpose of which is to support and comfort both the individual and his/her family. Social Service staff play a pivotal role in facilitating communication within families as well as between family members, medical personnel and clergy. Silvercrest's mission of "Giving Quality to Life" is, in part, accomplished through its provision of a warm and caring environment in which life may comfortably come to an end.