University of Oklahoma School of Social Work
Practice issues related to who is the primary client, family-focused care, and strategies to prevent caregiver burnout are illustrated in this case study, which could be used in practice courses at the generalist practice level. This case offers some clear implications for social work with aging clients. Social workers must always be aware of the client’s right to self-determination. A client is not a client simply because the social worker is expected to work with him or her. Productive social work can only be done if the client chooses to participate in the relationship as well.
The social worker in this case needs to examine the barriers to effective communication with this family. Clients should be told upfront what services the agency they have contracted with will provide. A clear understanding of each person’s role in the treatment process is vital to good social work.