What does a Director of Social Work at a Nursing Home Do?

A director of social work in a nursing home will take care of the psychosocial needs of residents in order to maximize their independence and quality of life. These health care administrators are involved with everything from care planning to clinical interventions. They perform incoming reviews on new residents to determine care levels and needs and then assign individual residents to nursing home social workers. They are Medicaid mediators, Social Security experts and disability advocates.

Administrative Duties

Directors of social work in a nursing homes perform demanding administrative duties. They supervise assigned social work staff and thus provide feedback and complete performance reviews. They review and update policies and procedures that meets regulatory compliance. They secure supplies and equipment as needed for their workers and sometimes help admissions coordinators handle nursing facility administration work. They regularly disseminate satisfaction surveys and implement assessment tools to ensure quality and safety. Directors of social work in a nursing homes act as their facility’s liaison with state social workers, community resources and many government organizations, such as SSI, Medicaid, Social Security and Disability Services.

Documentation Duties

Directors of social work in a nursing homes are expected to maintain accurate resident records that include clinical, family, personal and demographic information. During the admissions process, they collect all relevant medical, financial and psychosocial data. They continually maintain all case management forms, reports and notes to maintain compliance with legal and medical regulations. To legally protect their facility, they must document all pertinent conversations with residents in timely fashions. They create social work care plans in conjunction with nursing providers and other health care providers. They monitor target patient fund accounts to ensure proper stewardship and fiscal responsibility. Directors of social work in a nursing homes must be comfortable dealing with complex paperwork and bureaucratic processes.

Clinical Social Work Duties

Social work directors complete incoming and ongoing assessments of the psychosocial needs of residents. They actively participate in developing care plans with multi-disciplinary teams. They utilize traditional assessment tools, such as depression inventories and suicide evaluations, for both individuals and therapy groups. They function as the primary advocates for abuse prevention and residential rights, so they often educate staff and support families. When it comes to allegations of abuse or neglect, they assist the nursing administrator coordinate and complete the investigation. They help staff and supervisors develop resident intervention plans to deal with behavior problems. They also perform and submit quarterly and annual Medicaid and other compliance reports.

Employment Requirements

Social work directors need to have the ability to work with people under stressful conditions. They need a firm knowledge of medical terminology, care planning and Medicaid and Medicare eligibility requirements.
Excellent oral and written communication skills are a must. The standard educational requirement is a graduate degree in social work from an accredited college or university. Social work directors will need at least a few years of hands-on experience working in a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility. Familiarity and experience working with the local Department of Human Services is highly desired.

A director of social work protects and advocates for residents of nursing homes by performing key administrative, documentation and clinical duties.