Elder abuse is now recognized internationally as a social problem among the aging population. Intentional abuse, neglect, and exploitation among caregivers to frail and isolated elderly create serious risks across diverse formal and informal care settings. This field has expanded continuously since the early 1970s. Accurate prevalence and incidence rates have not been determined. There is a national system of elder victim protection operating within each state. The social work profession is legally mandated to report situations where an elderly person is suspected to be at risk of abuse. Social workers are involved in all aspects of elder abuse prevention and intervention services.
Carole B. Cox
Kinship care refers to the full time care, nurturing, and protection of children by relatives or others with a kinship bond to a child. Although such care is offered by many in relationships to children and is defined by states in many ways, the majority of kinship caregivers are grandparents. Among the primary reasons that children enter kinship care are parental substance abuse, neglect, abandonment, parental physical and mental illness, incarceration, domestic violence, and military deployment. Kinship care families tend to be poor with most caregivers outside of the formal service system. Consequently, they face many challenges as they struggle with policies and services that frequently are not responsive to their concerns. Social workers can play major roles in assuring that programs, which build upon the strengths of these families, are both available and accessible for them.
Home health care is professional medical and non-medical care delivered in the home (home refers to a private residence, an assisted living facility, or a group home) to assist ill, injured, or disabled seniors or adults remain safely at home for as long as possible. As the population ages, and the numbers of Baby Boomers age 85 and older increases, it is likely that there will be a growing need for long-term care, including home health care. In this article, the role of social work in home health care is reviewed as it is impacted by sources of payment and demographic characteristics of home care users. Social work assessment and intervention in home health care is also discussed with a focus on effective referral practices.