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What Does a Social Worker Do?

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Updated July 03, 2014

What Does a Social Worker Do?

A social worker shares some advice with a friend.

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Social workers offer a broad range of services, from emotional support to referrals for community resources. They may provide counseling services, advocate for a patient, or work with community groups to develop resources that will aid medical patients and other constituencies, including people with lupus.

In other words, they’re on your side.

If you include a social worker on your healthcare team, his or her primary focus will be to assess your needs (based on such criteria as your educational level, support from friends and family, your financial situation and living arrangements) and then helping you take care of those needs.

Information the social worker gathers can help inform the rest of your healthcare team, as well as inform them about how best to treat your illness, manage the disease – even how they can best interact with you.

They can even help you weave your way through our healthcare system and find local resources to help you manage day-to-day life.

Social workers typically have a bachelors degree, and may have a masters or doctoral degree as well. Most states require a license for practice.

Sources: The Role of the Social Worker in the Management of Rheumatic Disease The Association of Rheumatology. June 2008.

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