The Role of Social Workers in Care Management
Every March is Social Work Month, a time to recognize the work and contributions of these professionals. Many of our Life Care Managers here at LifeCare Advocates are social workers. That can be a surprise to some people, because social workers are traditionally thought of as people who help only the disadvantaged. But the background of social work is incredibly valuable to the work we do.
What draws social workers to our field? Anne-Marie Miskunas, MSW, LCSW, MS in Aging, CMC, offers her thoughts about her work.
On her path to social work
“My path to becoming a social worker took a 15-year detour. When I was in undergrad, I worked as a receptionist in a nursing home. I loved interacting with residents and their families. I even shadowed a social worker and thought, ‘I want to do this!’ I graduated with my bachelor’s degree and followed one of my dreams, which was not social work.
“Fast-forward years later: I was not happy in my career. At the same time, I found myself caregiving for my parents and advocating for them. After they passed away, I was taking care of my senior citizen neighbor. I was essentially her Life Care Manager without knowing the term at that time. During this time, I left my career and enrolled in graduate school to become a social worker.”
Anne-Marie interned with LifeCare Advocates, and now she’s one of our full-time Life Care Managers. While working with us, she earned her master’s in social work, became a licensed clinical social worker, and is now working to become a licensed independent clinical social worker.
On the role of social workers in care management
“Most people do think of social work as helping people who do not have the means to help themselves. In my field I’m lucky enough to help people find the resources they need to age gracefully and with dignity.
“I help people wherever they’re at, whether it’s at home or in a senior living setting, with the aging process. One day I might be taking someone to a doctor’s appointment, another day providing companionship, and other days I’m taking a cat to the vet because the client can’t do it themselves. Sometimes adult children just want someone to check in with their parents because they’re in another state. Or I’m an extra ear at a doctor appointment when the client is going through something. I can ask questions the client might forget. Every day is different, and that’s what I love about it.”
On the values and ethics of her work
“My personal values align with the values and ethical principles of social workers. The value that is most important to me is honoring the dignity and self-worth of a person. Too often in our society, senior citizens are overlooked and infantilized. I love building relationships with them, advocating for them, and reminding people that we have a lot to learn from our elders.”
On celebrating Social Work Month
“It’s important to celebrate the people who help others. For social workers and hospital employees, nurses, teachers—anyone in the helping professions—it’s nice to feel thanked.”
Thank you to Anne-Marie and all of our social workers for the work you do every day!