The actual and ideal roles of haemophilia treatment centre social workers in the United States and the barriers to ideal roles

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INTRODUCTION: Social Workers (SWs) provide valuable services on multidisciplinary teams of Haemophilia Treatment Centres (HTCs). However, their roles have not been defined and standardized. This paper identifies six major SW roles, including counselling, case management, financial/insurance, outreach/programs, administrative, and grants/research. Roles were further classified as 'actual' roles, those that SWs were actively practicing, and 'ideal' roles, those that SWs felt were most important for their clients.

AIM: The goal of this study was to determine the actual and ideal roles of HTC SWs and the barriers to ideal roles.

METHODS: An online survey was tested with a focus group and then e-mailed to 147 SWs who were working in the 141 HTCs across the United States.

RESULTS: Fifty-five percent of the SWs completed the survey. Data revealed that SWs' most prominent actual role was case management in their work with three client sub-populations: adult patients, paediatric patients and family members. However, SWs identified counselling as the ideal role that was most important for all client groups. Barriers to practicing ideal roles included lack of SW input, insufficient budgeted time and inadequate training. Salaries were found to be stagnant compared to 2010. Twenty-five percent of SWs reported no supervision.

CONCLUSIONS: Survey results gave evidence that although HTC SWs were primarily engaged in case management roles, they wanted to take on larger counselling roles. Efforts should be made to eliminate barriers to ideal SW roles so that SWs can provide additional psychosocial services for HTC patients.

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ePub ahead of print