Thursday, October 3, 2013

Social Work in a nursing home

Some days will be like this

Social Work in a nursing home can be fun, rewarding and very stressful, all in one day sometimes.  The paperwork and what you do, after the MDS's are done (Minimum Data Set is time sensitive and has to be completed in a timely fashion and must come first) what you do otherwise is dependent on your employer and maybe state examiners.  I say state examiners because once in a while, if they dig, dig, dig, an examiner will give you a list of 'residents in need of a psych evaluation, on paper, and results placed in the person's chart, within 10 days of the state's request.  Who are the residents in need of this evaluation paperwork?  Pretty much it will be residents who have come in and who 'have depression but have no dementia' diagnosis.  It is a given, by state examiners, that people with dementia have depression.  This psych eval is required to be sure other residents are safe from the person suffering depression. (You'll learn once you are hired).

Is it All like this? No, but often it is.

A good piece of advice to those Social Workers seeking employment in a nursing home is this: If, during an interview, the person tells you that you will be doing marketing as well, RUN, and run as fast as you can in the other direction.  Why?  Well the interviewer may as well say: "Frankly, our owners are so cheap they refuse to hire a marketer, so you get to do two, or more jobs here.  The reason for this?  "Well the owners and CEO insist in pulling down a 6 figure income while you run around, frazzled, making them rich by not paying a marketer."  Simple as that.

A decent marketer is supposed to be out of the office 85% of the time, drumming up business.  How in hell can you do your Social Work paperwork, be available to residents and families and take care of setting up home care and your usual paperwork and be out of your office that much?  Impossible!  

Marketing consists of: Hanging out at hospitals like a vulture, talking to older people who will be discharged and convincing them to come to your nursing home.  It's a highly competitive business with stock holders, owners and administrators pushing you to keep the building at 95% capacity. (Fill those beds with asses.) 

Unless you are a glutton for punishment, do not take that mush responsibility on.  I guarantee you one job or the other will suffer, not to mention your jangled nerves and sanity.  You must look out for your own health and well being because I assure you no one else will. 

Do not let rich companies make you juggle a 100 tasks.

Some nursing homes want Social Workers to also do, in addition to marketing; admissions.  Do not do this one either.  Because many admissions will not be until 5PM when most hospitals get around to discharging patients from their facility.  Unless you relish 12 to 14 hour days, admitting a resident; then steer clear of this extra job as well.  If you have a family and wish to see them, do not accept this extra job.  Many nights you won't see home until 10 or 11PM when your day already started at 8 or 9AM.  

Do not take on the job of discharges either.  When any resident is discharged from therapy (Medicare only pays for 100 hospital and therapy days per year), the discharge person is supposed to send a letter, or hand a letter, to the family member and/or resident who is responsible. The letter must be signed so no one can say: "My loved one was supposed to get more therapy and didn't get it."  When that signed letter (a copy of it) is placed in the resident's chart, then your ass and the facility's ass is covered.  Otherwise you can all be in trouble for not notifying the family and/or resident of this change.  This requires you to always be in touch with the therapy department, which can be difficult at best.  There is a web site where you can download this form, print it out and make copies of it.  You have to use the official form for your state. 

I hope these blogs are of help to those new Social Workers who seek employment in a nursing home.  The more you know, going into it, the better for you.  

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