Did you know that March is social work month? We took the opportunity to ask Chantal Audet, a social worker, a few questions about the profession and her role in supporting and working with caregivers.
In a few words, can you describe the role of the social worker in the care team?
The social worker strives to be the patient's representative with the care team. The social worker talks with people about their social environment, values and expectations and can thus have a more accurate picture of their reality and the difficulties they might face. The social worker’s duty is to share this reality with the attending care team.
How can the social worker support caregivers?
The social worker is well placed to assist in building a safety net for the person by providing a more social and global vision of the vulnerable person. The social worker can help reframe certain approaches depending on the environment in which the person lives and that person's specific priorities. Finally, with the social worker’s knowledge of the various resources in the network, the social worker can make referrals to resources that might prove better suited to the person’s situation in partnership with the care team.
The social worker may also support the caregiver directly by listening, sharing information and providing referrals for the caregiver. With more information, the caregiver can make informed decisions and sometimes see how things might unfold more smoothly. Moreover, by factoring in the information provided by the caregiver in the assessment, the social worker can ensure that the intervention plan is viable both for the patient and the caregiver.
How can caregivers in turn assist in your work with their loved one?
With their knowledge of and experience with their loved one, caregivers bring valuable expertise to the care team. They can inform the team about the person's needs, worries and dislikes. They can also help the team identify the most suitable and realistic solutions through their knowledge of their loved one’s daily routine and their social and family environment.
They can also act as both a mediator and facilitator for the entire care team, because of their closeness with their loved one and the trust that their loved one has in them.