Hospital-Based Social Workers Help Patients and Families Find Resources

April 5, 2021

While a hospital medical team focuses on patients’ diagnoses and treatment, there may still be a variety of emotional, socioeconomic or financial problems impacting patients’ health condition or life situation.

Sindhu D., Summerlin Hospital Rehab Social Worker
Sindhu D., Summerlin Hospital Rehab Social Worker

This is where hospital-based social workers dig into their years of experience and extensive contacts to tackle special challenges their patients may have, whether organizing medical transportation to a foreign country, ensuring an adoption is handled correctly or researching medical or financial resources for a patient. They also help coordinate various needs a patient may have before leaving the hospital, and may be called upon to address legal issues, refer clients to community resources and engage in research, policy development and advocacy for services.

“All of our social workers are committed to ensuring that the mental, physical, social and financial needs of our patients are met in a dedicated, individualized, professional manner each day,” said Gina Pierotti-Buthman, Regional Director of Case Management for The Valley Health System. “They are one of the behind-the-scenes healthcare heroes who help our patients and their families through difficult times.”

“Our social workers are such a vital part of our interdisciplinary team,” added Jill Pichette, Valley Health System Director of Rehabilitation Services. “Often, a patient’s home situation may have to look different after a stay in our acute rehabilitation care units. Our rehab social workers might arrange for home help, home modifications or sometimes finding a new living arrangement altogether. Their out-of-the-box thinking and relationships within the community help our patients receive what they need.”

The Valley Health System has multiple social workers throughout its six hospitals. In addition to working with adult patients, several patient care areas have their own social worker to handle unique needs. These areas include women’s services, pediatrics, acute rehabilitation and geropsychiatric services. Social workers must be licensed in Nevada and have either a bachelor's or master’s degree in social work.