A. Interviews Clients and Conducts Psychosocial Assessments
Interviews veterans and their family members/significant others to establish facts about the veterans situation, presenting problems and their causes, and the impact of such problems on the veterans functioning and health as part of a comprehensive psychosocial assessment. Interprets and explains VAs treatment and benefit programs.
Reviews all data, subjective and objective, and makes a clinical assessment, identifying needs and strengths. Effectively uses professional skill, objectivity and insight. Uses advanced clinical training, insight and experience to interpret data and to identify viable treatment options. Assesses high risk factors, acuity and need for services.
Has the ability to serve veterans who tend to have serious frequent and severe crises, lack family or an adequate community support network, be poor at self-monitoring, frequently fail to comply with instructions and treatment, have significant deficits in coping skills and require continuing professional psychological support.
B. Makes Psychosocial Diagnoses
Independently evaluates the clients situation, including the veterans reaction to it and ability to deal with it, and arrives at a reasoned conclusion. Based on the psychosocial assessment, uses professional judgment and independent practice skills to make a psychosocial diagnosis. Assesses at-risk factors and develops a preliminary disposition plan, involving the veteran and family or significant others. Performs insightful assessment of serious and complicated cases involving psychiatric illness, catastrophic medical conditions, dementia and other high-risk diagnoses. Makes independent professional decisions and recommendations for agency action because consequences to the veteran may be serious and the results are often unpredictable.
On an inpatient/outpatient basis, finds a suitable means of treatment to help veterans and/or significant others cope with stressful situations. Treatment is aimed at helping veterans find practical solutions to problems.
C. Plans Effective Treatment
Develops psychosocial treatment plans in coordination with interdisciplinary team members, including goals for psychosocial clinical treatment. Using known available resources and the initial assessment of the veterans likelihood to accept differing types of assistance, makes initial and continuing decisions regarding use of VA and non-VA services and referrals. Arrives at a reasoned conclusion as to the preferred course of agency action. Provides independent consultation and makes recommendations to interdisciplinary team on course of treatment.
Independently concludes the appropriate action, even in instances where actions can have serious impact on the life of the veteran. This might include long-term institutional or nursing home care or separation from family members. These decisions are based on the social workers independent practice skills, professional judgment and expertise regarding the veterans self-care capability, the family support system, the veterans health care needs and possible consequences.
Is responsible for carrying out/implementing all social work functions/duties in the area or program to which assigned, including promotion of Social Work services as a key component of treatment. Evaluates his/her practice as a social worker on an on-going basis through participation in professional peer review, case conferences, research studies or other organized means. Is active in and accepts responsibility for the development and maintenance of professional standards of treatment.
Makes adjustments to the psychosocial treatment plan and interventions based on changing needs and response to interventions. Initiates and effects changes in methods and interventions to promote efficient practice and improve patient outcomes. Effectively uses professional skills, objectivity and insight. In cases of antagonistic, indifferent or evasive veterans and their significant others, the social worker deals constructively with both positive and negative reactions, understands disparate values, and reaches veterans and families from different social and ethnic groups. Communicates confidence in the veterans ability and worth, helping the veteran address problems utilizing larger support systems as appropriate.
Participates in the assignment of veterans to treatment teams and programs. Consults with other specialists in planning treatment for veterans with co-morbidities.
D. Implements Treatment
Provides social work services to veterans and family members/significant others in support of the veterans treatment. Gives advice, guidance, emotional support and other assistance. Provides individual and group counseling services. Assists and encourages veterans and significant others in facing problems, thinking them through, evaluating the situation realistically, considering alternative courses of action and arriving at plans for using resources to resolve problems.
Depending on the area of assignment (where conducting psychotherapy is an expected job duty), only social workers designated at the advanced clinical license of LCSW, may diagnose, treat, and conduct psychotherapy using the DSM-IV-R diagnostic manual for psychiatric illness, using a variety of psychotherapeutic methods, including individual, group, or family psychotherapy.
Organizes community services on behalf of beneficiaries, developing and coordinating procedures for use of these services by related staff. Develops working relationships with other organizations having responsibilities for the same patient population.
Maintains a current and productive network of referral resources. Makes provision for referral services from other agencies, community resources (i.e. transition or halfway houses, shelters, etc.), and other Governmental agencies to resolve problems.
Professional judgment, including knowledge of normal and abnormal behavior, is an inherent competency applied in daily interactions with veterans. Regularly treats veterans with serious medical and psychiatric problems through counseling or referral. Highly developed professional, skills are routinely used to treat veterans with complex problems, histories of non-compliance with treatment and inability or unwillingness to participate in treatment.
The social worker demonstrates acceptance, interest, encouragement and selective use of questioning, explanation, and guidance in working with veterans to help them explore their problems. Employs Social Work methods and techniques to maintain a therapeutic relationship that will help the veteran work towards the best way of dealing with his/her problems.
E. Evaluation, Education, Supervision. Coaching and Mentoring
Establishes a continuing relationship with the veteran, evaluating progress towards goals and adjusting the treatment plan as appropriate. Meets with veteran to assess accomplishments and re-establish goals. Monitors veterans progress, maintains comprehensive documentation, ensures expert diagnosis and treatment of clinical disorders, and shows competent discretion in decision to adjust treatment. Makes recommendations for care and changes to interdisciplinary treatment plan.
Documents independently in the medical records utilizing paper and/or electronic formats, including psychosocial assessments, diagnostics, treatment, progress notes, follow up and referral.
Explains veterans treatment and progress to third parties as appropriate. Manages the quality control and evaluation of the professional services provided. Devises methods of obtaining data and evaluates data to determine the effectiveness of treatment. Identifies consistent qualities of successful treatment and of failed treatment.
Directs/coordinates psychosocial services for their assigned case load and is accountable for the overall effectiveness of the social work services provided. Modifies services to best meet the treatment needs of veterans and to promote efficient practice. Coordinates Social Work services with other services offered in the treatment program, assuring such services are complementary and comprehensive.
Directs activities to maximize effectiveness, efficiency and continuity of care for veterans. Provides case management services to those veterans at high social or medical risk, serving as the liaison to other treatment programs. Represents the program in contacts with other agencies and the public.
Incumbent may provides guidance for social work associates and is viewed by social workers and interdisciplinary team members as a competent clinician.
Incumbent may volunteer to serve as a field instructor or preceptor, supervises Social Work graduate students and provides a training experience for them in Social Work. Works with students to develop training plans and goals. Regularly assesses students progress toward training goals and students overall performance. Provides reports to the school of social work field liaison on the students progress. Participates in the school of social works field instructor training programs and the affiliation process. May serve as an adjunct faculty member.
Educates interdisciplinary team members on psychosocial treatment and on the services available from social workers. Helps them understand family dynamics and the impact of psychosocial issues and problems on the veterans health and response to treatment.
Offers patient and family/significant other educational services. Takes responsibility for identifying the health education needs of veterans and working with interdisciplinary team members on a plan to address those needs. Teaches health education classes.
Physical activity involves sitting, standing, walking, bending, stooping, climbing stairs, and carrying light items such as papers, books or other supplies. The incumbent uses a computer and standard office equipment to complete tasks. The emotional demands can be stressful in working with the patient population and their families. A level of self-awareness is essential.