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Social Work

VA social workers are advocates for the optimal health and well-being of Veterans, their families, and caregivers. Using a wholistic approach, they help to resolve psychosocial, emotional and economic barriers and empower Veterans to make decisions based on their individual preferences, needs and values.

Social Work at Washington DC VA Medical Center

Our social workers are highly educated and licensed to practice in a health care setting. They serve as a member of the Patient-Aligned Care Team, and take an active role in developing, monitoring, and assessing your treatment plan. They also provide case management services and ensure continuity through every stage of care from admission to follow-up.

What services are available?

Social workers can help with:

  • Financial or housing assistance
  • Connecting with VA or community programs like Meals on Wheels, so you can continue to live in your own home
  • Education and guidance when applying for benefits from the VA, Social Security, and other government and community programs
  • Ensuring your VA Primary Care Team understands your treatment preferences regarding end-of-life situations like:
    • Advance directives and living wills
    • Your preference in the event you are placed on life support
    • Organ donor status
    • Who you have chosen to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make those decisions yourself
  • Arranging for relief care so your caregiver can have a break or go on vacation without worrying about who will be caring for you
  • Providing resources to help with marriage or family problems
  • Moving you to an assisted living facility, a board and care home, or a nursing home
  • Grief support when a loved one passes away
  • Drinking or drug use
  • If you feel that someone is taking advantage of you or if you feel mistreated in a relationship
  • If you are a parent who feels overwhelmed with childcare
  • If your parent or spouse is in failing health
  • If you are feeling stressed because of your health or because your medical condition interferes with your daily activities
  • If you are feeling sad, depressed, or anxious
  • If you really aren't sure what you need, but things just don't feel right

How can social work help you?

Assessment: A social worker will meet with you, and often with your family, to learn about your health, your living situation, your at-home support systems, your military experience, and any issues you would like help with. They will prepare an assessment to help you and your primary care team make treatment plans.

Crisis intervention: Social workers provide counseling services to help you through a crisis. They can also help you apply for emergency aid from VA and community programs in your area. 

High-risk screening: Social workers work closely with Veterans who are at high risk, such as those who are homeless, those who have been admitted to the hospital several times, and those who cannot care for themselves any longer.

Discharge planning: If admitted to Washington DC VA Medical Center, a social worker can help you make plans for your return home or to the community. If you can no longer live by yourself, a they can help arrange for care in your home or an alternative location.

Case management: Social workers often provide long-term case management services to Veterans who are at high risk of being admitted to a hospital, those who have very complex medical problems, and those who need additional help and support. They are available to offer support and counseling, help identify your needs and connect you with resources and care to meet those needs. 

Advocacy: Sometimes it can be hard to speak up for yourself. Your social worker can provide advocacy, education and support on your VA health care journey.  

Education: Social workers can provide education to you and your family about what services and programs are available to you, tips for dealing with stress and loss, and how you can find support groups and other self-help programs in your community. 

Psychotherapy: Clinical social workers provide individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy to address emotional, behavioral and mental health needs.

Where can you find social workers at Washington DC VA Medical Center?

At Washington DC VA Medical Center, social workers are available to answer questions, provide resources and connect you with the appropriate care in every service, to include:

  • Caregiver Support Program
  • Emergency Department
  • Geriatric & Extended Care
    • Adult Day Health Care
    • Community Living Center (CLC)
    • Community Services
    • Contract Nursing Home
    • Geriatric Patient-Aligned Care Team (Blue clinic)
    • Home-Based Primary & Palliative Care
    • Homemaker/Home Health Aide
    • Palliative & Hospice Care
  • Health care for Homeless Veterans
  • Inpatient Medicine & Mental Health
  • Medical Specialty
    • Neurology & ALS
    • Renal/Dialysis
    • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Mental Health
    • Geriatric Mental Health & Access Clinic
    • Intimate Partner Violence
    • Mental Health Intensive Case Management
    • Psychosocial Rehabilitation Recovery Center (PRRC)
    • Substance Abuse Recovery Program
    • Suicide Prevention
    • Trauma Services
  • Patient-Aligned Care Teams 
    • Community Care
    • Infectious Disease
    • Women’s Health
  • Military2VA (formerly Transition Care Management/OEF/OIF/OND)
  • VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs)

Connect with a social worker

You can request to speak with a social work at anytime during your care at Washington DC VA Medical Center. To connect with Social Work Service by phone, call or ext. 8534. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.