Background: Social workers have been part of the health care professions for over a century, but their integration into community health care services is relatively new. The scanty research on their role reveals the vagueness of their contribution to supporting medical care, notwithstanding their potential. As employees of financially strained health care organizations, and because social workers no longer enjoy exclusivity in psychosocial intervention, it is important that they define their contribution to their organizations.Aims: This study aimed to explore social workers’ perceptions of their contribution to community health care services and the challenges they face.Methods: The study was based on findings of a qualitative study that included in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 16 social workers. Maximum-variation sampling was employed. Data were analyzed on the basis of thematic analysis principles. Findings: The participants defined their role in comprehensive psychosocial intervention, which combines emotional and instrumental support aimed at helping patients and families cope effectively with their illness and enhancement of holistic health care services. The social workers’ contributions and challenges were grouped into four main themes, according to the service recipients: patients, families, the team, and the health care system.Conclusions and implications: The findings reveal the significant contribution of social workers to patients with chronic conditions, as well as to the interdisciplinary team and to the health care system. The study emphasizes the challenges that social workers face in upholding their professional values as well as in clarifying their identity and boundaries in health care “host agencies”. It is important to recognize their contribution in light of the ongoing changes in primary healthcare among the aging population and the expansion of health services in the community.
|Translated title of the contribution||Social Workers’ Contribution to and Challenges in Community Health Care Services in Israel|
|Number of pages||26|
|Journal||חברה ורווחה: רבעון לעבודה סוציאלית|
|State||Published - Jun 2021|