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Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging$
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Barbara Berkman and Sarah D'Ambruoso

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195173727

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173727.001.0001

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Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes

(p.601) 53 Nursing Homes
Handbook of Social Work in Health and Aging

Betsy Vourlekis

Kelsey Simons

Oxford University Press

More than 3 million people are cared for in nursing homes each year. Nursing homes are often the least preferred alternative of older Americans and their loved ones and, unfortunately, more frequently make news and headlines because of poor care and concerns about quality than for their exemplary service. Nonetheless, nursing homes are an essential component of the health care continuum and an important arena for social work practice. Social work's focus on overall quality of life and its professional obligation to advocate for those who may lack capacity to defend themselves, are especially relevant to the nursing home setting. To introduce the practice domain, this chapter (a) briefly examines the nursing home context and regulatory environment; (b) discusses the needs and strengths of nursing home “clients” and the home as a system in its own right; (c) describes key features of the social work role and functions, including the monitoring and quality improvement of social work services; and (d) identifies key research needs to support practice.

Keywords:   aging, elderly, nursing homes, social work practice

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