Dec 15, 2020
A team approach to Parkinson’s disease (PD) often results in better outcomes and quality of life for people with PD and their care partners. Members of the team have specific expertise in evaluating and fulfilling the needs of the person and family. One of those members is the social worker, and ideally, one who specializes in chronic or progressive diseases. He or she can assess how the person is functioning in their environment, their emotional state, and their needs. Once the assessment is done, the social worker can help meet those needs by directing people to the most appropriate resources, or in the case of Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW’s), (or the equivalent in some states, Licensed Independent Social Workers), by directly providing therapy in the areas of mental and emotional health. Social workers also can function as a “point person” or starting point for people with PD and care partners who may know what they need but not where to find it or how to access it.
In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Delaney, LCSW, social worker in Columbia University’s movement disorders division and the center coordinator of the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at Columbia, describes the role of social workers as part of a Parkinson’s health care team, and she offers suggestions on how people with PD can find a social worker experienced in working with people with progressive diseases.