1. Interesting point of view. In the hospital setting, I think thats why a social worker is there. Often, Drs are too overworked to have the time for that chat. I wish I had been given access to a social worker. I think their roles are undervalued. They are more than just a friendly ear – theyre the ones who get you access to good doctors, who organise any home follow ups, who tell you about support services. I work with elderly patients and I’m always recommending to them to speak to a social worker when they get hospitalised and feel that the doctors are ignoring them, so the social worker can go in to bat for them.

    But outside the emergency setting, in clinic, I think that your point of view is very relevant, and often they ignore the mental side (which is sometimes the bigger side) and glide over how we’re feeling.

    Luckily my educator is amazing but it must be very hard for patients who don’t know how to self-advocate.

  2. Actually nurses and credentialed Diabetes Educators are the ones that make referrals and organise home visits or medical follow up. Given i have 15 years experience working in ED’s and a total of 37 years working in health, in particular mental health, i think i know exactly what transpires in hospital settings. Social workers are not first line when it come to issues pertaining to emotional and mental wellbeing, social workers are generally called in by doctors and nurses if the patient presents with “social” issues such as getting a Centrelink sickness benefit or needing support to help get a pet into boarding for the duration of hospitalisation, etc………….

    Frank you have every right to be angry and upset at the conduct of the social worker whom treated you with such a prescriptive approach. Unfortunately some social workers have a limited understanding of their scope of practise. A social worker can do post grad education to acquire skills in mental health. Given the complexity of diabetes and the psychoneuroendocrinological aspects a sound knowledge and background in the sciences, including mental health sciences is essential when dealing with the emotional needs of a person with diabetes.

    This is NOT a question of not being able to “self advocate” every patient has the right to be treated with respect and dignity, regardless of your level of ability to advocate!

    I would advise any person whom is treated with such disregard and disrespect to complain to the Health Complaints Commission in relation to social workers. For concerns or complaints about all other health care professionals you can submit a complaint or concern to AHPRA.

  3. It is worth noting that a degree in social work does NOT meet the criteria to be a diabetes educators.

    I had an unfortunate experience with a social worker whom inferred they were a DE. The social worker not having a proper understanding of the National Law breached confidentiality, Being a VERY EXPERIENCED SELF ADVOCATE, upon confronting the SW it was evident the SW had no ability or experience to apply matters of a medical legal nature to the area of practise undertaken by the SW . It is important all health care providers do not practise outside their scope and field of expertise.

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