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During the course of this semester for this Introductory course, we were required to complete a volunteer placement in a Social Work Agency Facility. The purpose of this assignment was to provide us experience working directly with Social Work agencies that would give us valuable resources to be great advocates in our profession. While working at the volunteer placement site, we were required to be professional and reliable in engaging ourselves in activities that were assigned, 1 overall enjoyed this great experience and built bonds with the patients and faculty at the facility while gaining skills that would help me in my future profession.
My volunteer placement was done at the Jacksonville Health and Rehabilitation. located here in Jacksonville, AL. The purpose of the organization is to provide a rehabilitation and long- term care facility for the elderly and disabled, Usually. most nursing homes have more elderly than the younger generation, but this is a facility that is mixed with both. Services at this facility are designated for the elderly, disabled.
and medically eligible patients who need long term care. While volunteering here at the nursing home they have various activities for the patients to participate in like bingo. trivia. thanksgiving dinner. Halloween festivities, and so much more. Jacksonville Health and Rehabilitation is a facility composed of RN nurses, CNA‘s, Social Workers, Activities Directors. and more than all play a part in making the transition for the elderly to have a place to call home. As discussed over the semester there are many fields of Social Work Practice, but this specific facility works with the elderly, so it is considered a “Geriatric” facility.
During the placement, I found out a Geriatric Social Worker is one who carries responsibilities of behavior management, social history assessments, and much more, In a nursing home, there is a high demand for Geriatric Social Workers needed to carry out the functions to help a nursing home run smoothly. Also, a Social Worker in this agency also helps provide individual counseling to patients, helps with discharge planning, and transportation for medical appointments. During my time at the nursing home, I observed how well equipped the staff wherein calling the ambulance and getting transportation for patients to get to the hospital or their whereabouts. According to Vilena Billups, the Social Service Director, a typical workday for her is unpredictable but usually very busy. She states that a typical caseload is 167 residents in which there are two Social Service employees at the facility, Mrs. Billups says she enjoys working with elderly patients, but her dislikes about the job are the horrendous amounts of paperwork. I worked mostly with the activities department and the Activity Director, Sue Chastain and Mrs. Michelle also liked working with the elderly. While observing them they showed great compassion for their patients and always made them feel at home. At the Jacksonville Health and Rehabilitation facility volunteers are always appreciated and welcomed anytime. As a volunteer, my major responsibilities were assisting the staff in providing socialization activities for the residents.
A typical day for a volunteer would consist of working with the activities department at the 10:00 or 2:00 activity hour. This would also assist the staff in pushing residents from their room to the dining room or day room, I would also take the time to go do room visits with patients I had grown close to ovenime. It warmed my heart to always see this one lady who always would hug me every time she would see me. She always told me how she appreciated the time I took out to spend with her through my volunteer service. I would also ask sometimes to lead the activities to better connect with the residents and it gave me an opportunity to interact with them more. I also would do mail runs to different units in the facility while delivering mail to patient rooms. I spent the majority of my time with my grandmother when l was little while my parents would work. Therefore. the volunteer experience made me realize that I truly have a passion and the patience to work with people. As discussed in class, there are more Geriatric Social Workers needed to work with the elderly. In a nursing home facility, there are Social Work Supervisors present as well to help the staff assist the residents and their families with proper care A Supervisor in this agency is someone who is highly qualified and has many years of experience to coach their staff in making decisions concerning the residents. A typical day of a Geriatric Social Service Supervisor is one who supervises their individual departments in the facility. A workday for them may be very busy and is unpredictable in which there are many things needed to be done. Their daily responsibilities include creating opportunities for their staff to properly meet the needs of the aging population through workshops, training sessions, and more The Supervisor in this Agency wants qualified Social Workers that are well trained to work with the elderly population. They make sure to send their staff to training sessions that would give them the knowledge to help them better provide services to the aging population.
The Role of the Administrator/Executive Director of this Agency carries the responsibilities of monitoring and supervising the functions taking place in the facility, It also their responsibility with creating a budget plan with how the facility is operated through the expenses needed to be spent. Derek Patterson is the Administrator at the Jacksonville Health and Rehabilitation facility. A typical day for him will include projected a meeting with the department heads to discuss any issues present in the facility Also, he directs meetings concerning the budgets of the facility to provide for the residents and deals with any occurrences between patients or faculty where there is a concern. According to the Administrator. there like lies within working with the aging population in which many people choose not to do. It creates bonds between the faculty and the residents of giving the elderly a facility they can call their home. There are no dislikes of the job according to the Administrator. A Geriatric Social Worker is one who works with the elderly/aging population in providing services to enhance the development, and problem-solving skills to cope with older people and their families. Geriatric Social Workers not only work in nursing homes, but utilize their skills of knowledge through hospitals, outpatient facilities, mental health agencies, and caregiving agenciesl Their salary ranges between $41.000-$45,000 per yeac However, an-entry level Geriatric Social Worker can expect to have a salary of around $38,000 per year with less than one year of experience.
The job qualifications for this job is being knowledgeable of the elderly population, having the patience to work with elderly patients and families, and having solutions to help families cope with medical concerns of residents To pursue a career working in Gerontological Social Work Practice includes having at least a bachelor’s degree in Social work to practice in this field. Some people obtain master’s and doctor’s degrees to work in the Gerontological field of Social Work. With that being said. as discussed throughout this paper the need for Social Workers to work with the elderly is in high demand. The majority of the world population contains mostly the elderly population and it affects the economy. The need for people to work with the aging population can be challenging but there is a need to help people who are dealing with medical issues of aging. In conclusion, overall my experience opened my eyes to what the aging population goes through on a day-to-day basis. It makes you appreciate your freedom to have the ability to do for your own self. i understand why elderly people are stuck in certain ways because it can be a hard transition from having the freedom to someone controlling your daily activities and functions of life. Many people tend to not have patience and that‘s why they are not equipped for working with the elderly, so it‘s considered challenging to them, However, after seeing my grandmother transition into a stage of Alzheimer’s made me see the number of things she had to give up because of her condition, At Jacksonville Health and Rehabilitation, the climate is very welcoming, and the staff and residents are great, and I enjoyed working with them. One thing that amazed me is the love they have for their patients and how they go out of their way to make their residents feel loved and make them feel comfortable My initial interest in Social Work was to go into the Family and Child Welfare or Medical/School Social Work but this placement gave me a new interest. I have always adored the elderly, but after volunteering at the nursing home I have considered in possibly going into the Gerontological Social Work Practice.
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