Who are social workers? What are their roles and how can they support you in your role?
As a key part of the care team, social workers ensure that the caregiver has all the tools needed to deal with their situation.
The social worker provides assistance to individuals and communities experiencing difficult, crisis or life situations and sets up options to improve their well-being. Taking into account the environment in which they live, they assess social functioning, develop an intervention plan and ensure its implementation.
The caregiver has to deal with their immediate environment, the community, health professionals, various institutions and government policies. They sometimes find themselves faced with an abundance of resources without knowing which ones correspond to their situation or are simply unaware of the help they can obtain. This is where the social worker can step in and help make sense of the situation.
They seek to meet the needs of the person being helped, but also those of the caregivers so that they can make informed choices. This is accomplished by offering information on protective measures, the functioning of the healthcare network, the services to which caregivers are entitled, as well as assistance during the first few months of adaptation following a difficult event.
Versatility, creativity and collaboration sum up the strengths of social workers, who are able to seek out information, probe a little further and find resources. Because of their proximity to caregivers and their families, they are able to represent their voice, to become essential spokespersons with teams and other partners.
Social workers in a CHSLD context are also called upon when conflicts arise between the family, the care team and the resident. They then take charge of the mediation and try to better understand the difficulties at hand or the problem encountered in order to orient the approach towards a collective solution.
I am afraid of being evaluated, of being designated as the main person responsible for my husband’s confusion [with Alzheimer’s disease]. Fear of having stirred up a storm in a glass of water and of being called neurotic.
In an interview with Radio-Canada [in French only] social worker Karine Joly encourages caregivers to take time for themselves. Here are some of her tips:
The need for respite—which can mean setting aside time for yourself, recharging, participating in activities, reaching out to others and especially to the CLSC—provides help over the long term.
Many thanks to Chantal Audet T.S. M. Sc. for taking the time for an interview with us. She works at the Centre intégré de santé et services sociaux des Laurentides (CISSS des Laurentides).
Ontario association of social workers. Myths about social workers.
Clinique GO. Social work support for family caregivers.
Philip McCallion, Ronald W. Toseland et Manfred Diehl. Social work practice with caregivers of frail older adults.
Medicine Encyclopedia. Social work: support for the caregiver.
Parachute carrière. 5 mythes associés au travail social. [in French only]
Need to talk?
Contact our Caregiver Support Helpline for counselling, information et referrals.
Every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Free of charge.