VA » Health Care » Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence » Multiple Sclerosis Social Workers Professional Page
Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
Multiple Sclerosis Social Workers Professional Page
MS Social Workers in the VA…
- Are knowledgeable about MS and how it affects the psychosocial aspects of daily life of a Veteran with MS.
- Use evidence-based social work practice methods especially focused in MS.
- Stay up-to-date with the changing MS disease process and how it affects the Veteran in daily life.
- Address the unique needs of the Veteran MS population.
- Serve the comprehensive social work needs of Veterans with MS, Caregivers, and their families throughout the disease course.
- Work in a multidisciplinary MS Care Team in planning, implementation, and evaluation of MS treatment programs.
- Conduct psychosocial assessments and high risk screenings of the Veteran with MS.
- Formulate a social work component of the overall MS treatment plan.
- Serve many roles: Case Manager, Advocate, Counselor, Facilitator, Educator, and Negotiator.
Meet our MSCoE Social Workers
- Maggie Kazmierski, MSW, LCSW-C, CCM is a MSCoE-East Senior Social Worker and the Spinal Cord Injury Clinic Coordinator for the Baltimore VAMC in Baltimore, MD.
- Alicia Sloan, MPH, MSW, LICSW is a core Research and Special Projects Coordinator with MSCoE-West at VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, WA.
- Jan Spencer, MSW, LCSW is the social worker for MSCoE-West as well as the Epilepsy Center of Excellence-Northwest in Portland, OR.
- Become a Caregiver REACH Program Coach using the REACH-MS Caregiver workbook! Training Schedule
- Become credentialed in MS! MS Certified Specialist
Professional Resources for MS
- VA Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence (MSCoE)
- MSCoE Network Facilities Directory
- MSCoE Health Care Professionals webpage
- VA System of Care VHA Directive 1101.06
- MSCoE Research
- National MS Society Professional Resource Center
- Contact Andrea.email@example.com to get on the listserv for the monthly MS Mental Health Professional Networking calls.
- National MS Society MS Navigator Program
- VA providers can refer a Veteran with MS to this program. They can help with intensive care management.
- VA Social Work
- VA Social Work Reference Center (Database approved for CEUs - reference sheets, quick lessons, and full text pdfs of journal articles.)
- VHA National Destop Library: Online Social Work Journals
MS Annual Conferences
MS Veteran Resources
Caregivers of Veterans with MS Resources
- Advance Directives
- Geriatrics and Extended Care
- Home and Community Based Services
- Mental Health
- PTSD: National Center for PTSD
- PTSD Program Locator
- Social Work Reference Center
- Substance Use
- Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Program Locator
- Suicide Assessment/Prevention
- MIRECC for Suicide Prevention
- Facts about Veteran Suicide July 2016
- Telehealth Services
- Telemental Health
- VA Library
National Resource Directory
Social Work Organizations/Resources
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
- NASW Code of Ethics
- NASW Standards for the Practice of Clinical Social Work
- NASW Standards and Guidelines
MS Social Workers Play Many Roles on the MS Care Team*
- Provide psychosocial assessment.
- Promote mental, vocational, and social rehabilitation.
- Facilitate the Veteran’s return to the community at the highest level of functioning possible.
- Assess the needs and barriers of the Veteran and primary Caregiver (spouse, partner, family member, friend) and formulate a plan.
- Assess home environment.
- Assess Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Inactivity of Daily Living (IADLs)
- Discuss H/HHA and put in the consult to get them on the EWL.
- Assess MS Caregiver needs: refer to
- VA in-home respite
- General VA Caregiver resources
- VA Home and Community Based Services
- Identify VA and Community resources and follow up for outcome, like MS Organizations:
- National MS Society
- MS Association of America
- MS International Federation
- United Spinal Association
- Link Veteran to a Veterans Service Organizations (VSO): Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
- Link necessary VA departments/services together to best serve the Veteran and Caregiver.
- Partner with other professionals in Mental Health, Primary Care, and other service lines to provide comprehensive management of resources, support systems, and services to Veterans/Family.
- Assist with alternative living arrangements when necessary.
- Assist with travel benefits.
- Advocate for health care services inside and outside of VHA: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security Disability. (If unable to work or beginning to have difficulty, we can provide information on SSDI and how to apply/qualifications, etc.)
- Advise on Veteran’s benefits and VA compensation programs: aid and attendance support and funding, prosthetics, vocational rehabilitation, and MS service-connection.
- Intercede and speak in defense of the Veteran’s well-being.
- Advocate for Veteran’s needs and desires in their care following a Patient Centered Model.
- Navigate with Veteran through the VA health care system and private sector.
- Encourage Veterans to call if having problems with issue, cannot get a resolution, or have a question and have no idea who to ask.
- Navigate through common barriers and assist with removing barriers to other needed services.
- Help expedite health services.
- Check for service-connected MS using Veteran’s date of service and when symptoms began.
- Link to VSO if other SC conditions or worsening conditions.
- Provide education and assist with Advanced Care Directives (ACD) or review existing ACD. Does ACD still reflect their goals of care?
- Communicate with other primary service areas and VAs or needs in that community, and locate their social worker there.
- Provide crisis intervention to Veterans, Caregivers and their families.
- Provide Individual, family, and group counseling. Some VA locations provide telehealth counseling.
- Provide supportive counseling to assist Veteran/Family members in coping with the impact of their disease, change in roles/identity, and disease progression.
- Use different forms of counseling techniques: cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, strengths based approach, and others.
- Provide coping strategies for managing emotions: sadness, anger, worry, fear, and other feelings.
- Provide referrals to and/or facilitate MS support groups: in-person and telephone support groups, caregiver support groups.
- Provide a ‘clinic’ and offer both phone and in-person counseling.
- Provide MS – specific interventions.
- Suicide assessment/prevention:
- Veteran Crisis Line,
- MIRECC for Suicide Prevention, and
- Facts About Veteran Suicide.
- Facilitate Veterans/Caregivers together for peer support: MS support groups, telephone support groups, caregiver support groups.
- Topics identified by our Veterans.
- Offer meetings by V-tel, Clinical Video Telehealth, and VANTS conference call.
- Develop relationships with community organizations that support Veterans with MS and their family/caregivers.
- Respond to calls for financial assistance, transportation, etc.
- Inform not only the Veteran/Family, but also colleagues, on resources, support programs, and systems for Veterans with MS and their caregivers.
- Provide education to Veterans with MS, families, and interdisciplinary team members on the psychosocial impact of illness and disease progression.
- Provide MS specific materials: MS Veteran Booklet and MS Veteran Newsletters.
- Advise Veterans regarding VA benefits and compensation programs.
- Provide education on planning for care with the use of Advanced Directives.
- Present at international and national conferences sponsored by MS and Veteran organizations: CMSC, PVA, etc.
- Provide mediation between the Veteran and the healthcare system.
- Assist in resolving Veteran and caregiver conflicts.
- Provide supportive counseling as appropriate.
- Assist in resolving systemic conflicts that impact the care of the Veteran.