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Nursing Home Social Workers need to be Held to a Higher Standard

Low federal standards and inconsistent state laws have created lapses in the qualifications of nursing home social workers. Social workers are integral to nursing home resident’s quality of care, yet a national survey shows that only half of all nursing home social workers actually have a social work degree. Additionally, the study shows that 20 percent do not have a four-year degree of any kind; two-thirds do not belong to any professional organizations and 62 percent are not licensed in social work. The study concluded that for-profit nursing homes are 31 percent less likely to hire a degreed social worker. Social workers in nursing homes are important because they handle very serious emotional issues affecting residents, family members, and other staff members, and they need to be educated on how to handle these issues. Federal law mandates that all nursing homes with over 120 beds must meet federal regulations require one full-time social worker to be employed, but a bachelor degree in any service area is the only required training. Furthermore, the study shows that most social workers can only handle 60 patients in one nursing home, half of the federal mandate. To read the full story, click here.