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The Importance of Social Work in Long-Term Care
Social work is a profession that is committed to helping others. Social workers are often there to meet the needs of those they work with by becoming an advocate and helping to enrich their lives. Social work is important in long-term care communities because many residents and their loved ones require assistance and discernment to make difficult or often life-changing decisions.
As we continue to celebrate Social Work Month, we spoke with Bonnie Finch, Social Worker at Autumn Care of Altavista. Finch has been at Autumn Care of Altavista for nearly 34 years, and she wanted to share her wisdom and perspective in the field of social work.
How did you get to where you are today?
Finch graduated from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in social work.
“At JMU, I originally thought I wanted to be a therapist,” Finch said. “After some time passed, I felt called to becoming a social worker in a nursing home. I changed my degree to pursue the profession I was called to.”
After graduating, Finch worked with Campbell County social services for 5 years. After that, she was employed at a continuing care community in the Lynchburg area before coming to Autumn Care of Altavista when the building first opened. Finch grew up in Altavista and is happy have a career centered in her hometown.
“I think it’s personal here and the staff tends to know the community,” Finch shared. “You’re working with people that you or your family knows.”
Why is social work important in healthcare?
Finch shared with us what her typical day looks like, and why her role as a social worker is essential in the healthcare field.
“As a social worker, we’re kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” Finch said.
Finch told us a few items that her role entails, including listening to people, helping with paperwork, and understanding disease processes. She added that social work is everything that doesn’t fall under a specific category.
“Within a nursing and rehabilitation community, you know the residents’ basic needs are being met, and as a social worker, you’re trying to enhance that,” Finch explained. “Social work is being a good listener. We reassure our residents that their situation is not the first you’ve seen, nor will it be the last. We tell them that we’re there to help.”
Finch explained that you have to be very fluid in long-term care and must be flexible depending on the situation.
“You’re always finding ways that make the residents feel better. In my job, I’ve encountered several situations where I had to think quickly and adapt to their needs,” Finch said.
How do families benefit from a social worker’s help?
Finch shared how families can benefit from a social worker’s help when they have a loved one in a long-term care community.
“We give families reassurance that we’re here to take care of their loved ones while they can rest assured they’re in good hands,” Finch said.
Finch also shared a personal experience she’s had with this long-term care community and how she comforts family members with her own story.
“After my father was here, I gained a great deal of respect for what the families go through. I can relate to the family members and tell them my parent was here as well. I’ve been where they are, in their shoes,” Finch shared.
What’s a positive experience you’ve had at your community?
Finch recalled some of the positive experiences she’s had at Autumn Care of Altavista over the years.
“I’m able to give back in a way because we care for the people who cared for me as I was growing up. My job as a social worker makes me feel good,” Finch shared. “I’ve taken care of many of my loved ones. I’ve also cared for some of my former elementary school teachers here.”
Saber Healthcare Appreciates Our Social Workers
Thank you, Finch, and all our other social workers for all you do in our long-term care and rehabilitation communities.
If you’re interested in joining one of our teams as a social worker, click here to check out our open positions at a community near you.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.