The transplant social worker provides comprehensive social work services to patients and families through all phases of transplant—from date of initial referral through transplant hospitalization and for the duration of the post-transplant period. As a member of a transplant team, the social worker provides patient education and emotional support, is responsible for referrals to community agencies, coordinates patient care with other team members, and assists with concrete services.
The provision of these services in the United States is mandated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for Medicare-approved transplant centers.
1. Psychosocial assessment
A psychosocial assessment is completed on each patient referred for organ transplant. This assessment is conducted to assist the transplant team in determining a patient’s psychological and social readiness for the demands and stresses associated with transplant surgery, recovery, and rehabilitation. The psychosocial assessment includes a structured, comprehensive, evidence-based assessment of the patient’s overall global quality of life including, but not limited to, their physical, behavioral, psychological, social and spiritual functioning. The psychosocial evaluation contributes to the overall transplant evaluation and helps establish specific patient care plans to maximize optimal recovery and rehabilitation and to ensure the best possible transplant outcome, while reducing the impact of known psychosocial risk factors. A psychosocial assessment is also required for patients being considered for re-transplantation.
The psychosocial assessment will include but it is not limited to:
a. Education, Licensure & Certification:
e. Other Duties:
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The content below describes the STSW Core Competencies as defined by the Council on Social Work Education. The practice behaviors listed are specific to the field of transplant social work.
Identify as a professional social worker and conduct oneself accordingly.
Social workers serve as representatives of the profession, its mission and its core values. They demonstrate professional commitment by taking responsibility for their conduct, practice and learning, with support through supervision. Social workers:
Apply social work ethical principles to guide professional practice.
Social workers have an obligation to conduct themselves ethically and to engage in ethical decision-making. They are knowledgeable about values of the profession, its ethical standards and relevant law. Social workers:
Apply critical thinking to inform and communicate professional judgments.
Social workers are knowledgeable about the principles of logic, scientific inquiry and reasonable judgment. Critical thinking skills are enhanced by their creativity and curiosity, requiring the synthesis and communication of relevant information. Social workers:
Engage diversity and difference in practice.
Social workers understand how diversity characterizes and shapes the human experience and is critical to the formation of identity. The dimensions of diversity are multi-factorial including: race, ethnicity, national origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political beliefs, religion, immigration status and mental or physical disability. Social workers appreciate that as a consequence of difference, a person’s life experiences may include oppression, poverty, marginalization, and alienation as well as privilege, power, and acclaim. Social workers:
Advance human rights and social and economic justice.
Every individual has basic human rights including freedom, safety, privacy, adequate standard of living, access to health care and education. Social work values incorporate social justice practices in organizations, institutions, and society to ensure that these basic human rights are distributed equitably and without prejudice. Social workers:
Engage in research-informed practice and practice-informed research.
Social workers use practice experiences to inform research, employ evidence-based interventions, evaluate their own practice, and use research findings to improve practice, policy, and social service delivery. Social workers comprehend quantitative and qualitative research and understand scientific and ethical approaches to building knowledge. Social workers:
Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment.
Social workers are knowledgeable about human behavior across the life span and the range of social systems in which people live as well as the impact of these social systems on achieving and maintaining health and well-being. Social workers:
Engage in policy practice to advance social and economic well-being and to deliver effective social work services.
Social workers understand that policy affects service delivery and they actively engage in policy practice. Social workers know the history and current structures of social policies and services, the role of policy in service delivery and the role of practice in policy development. Social workers:
Respond to contexts that shape practice.
Social workers are informed and resourceful while responding to evolving organizational, community and societal contexts at all levels of practice. They recognize that the context of practice is dynamic and use their knowledge and skills to respond proactively. Social workers:
Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities.
Professional practice involves the dynamic and interactive processes of engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation at multiple levels. Social workers have the knowledge and skills to practice with individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. Social workers: