Geriatric Social Work: Supporting the Patient's Search for Meaning


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Abstract

This article discusses the role of the geriatric social worker on the inpatient medical rehabilitation unit, in a comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation program, in a geriatric medical clinic, and in the community. The social worker on the inpatient unit provides program coordination, psychosocial assessment, intervention, and patient advocacy. Case examples illustrate the social worker's ability to work with patients across treatment settings to process their losses, find sources of support, reevaluate their lives in light of physical changes, and find meaning in their lives. The importance of social support, the search for meaning, and the use of reminiscence in providing a rehabilitation of the spirit are emphasized.

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