Social interactions and support have long-term physiological, psychological, and behavioral consequences impacting health outcomes. The importance of social support in improving health outcomes has led to increased attention to interventions. These interventions might include illness-specific support groups, health education programs, and community resources that engage socially isolated patients. When assessing a patient, medical social workers must consider the presence, nature, and level of social support that exist for that individual. In addition, an evaluation of a patient’s perception of his or her social support is important.
To prepare for this Discussion:
Review this week’s resources. Consider a patient, the illness, and the social support system of the patient. Focus on the importance of social support on illness and health outcomes. Think about assessment of social support. Consider ways to improve social support for your patients that might lead to better health outcomes.
Post a description of the social support system of the patient you selected. Explain how the social support might improve the illness outcomes. Then, explain the importance of assessing the quality of the patient’s social support system. List a set of three questions that you think are important for assessing the patient’s social support system. Justify your selection. Then, explain how the roles of a medical social worker might improve the quality of the support for the patient. Explain one strategy that might be effective in improving the social support system of a patient.