Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When I'm 64...

Will you still need me?  Will you still feed me…….?  So the 1960’s lyrics of the Beatles song go and I still smile every time I hear that tune.  Decades old it may be, but the concern still prevails. How will life be as I get older, as my clients age, as we see the demographics shift such that there are more older folks in our lives than younger ones.  The subject has been getting more pressing as these topics are brought up in the media, and I become aware of my own aging. 

So what is NASW and the Chapter, in particular, doing about this?  How can we support our members who are dealing with these issues personally and professionally?  The news is good.  When you are an NASW member you can be sure to get all kinds of acknowledgment, support and resources in the area of aging.

For starters, in the area of acknowledgment, just take a look at the award winners at the 2011 Chapter Award event.  3 out of 7  work in the area of aging; Kathy Kuhn  recipient for the Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice is on staff at the Institute of Geriatric Social Work; Chet Jakubiak, recipient of the Award for Social Policy and Change is  a leader at the  Massachusetts Association of Older Americans,  and Kathleen McInnis-Dittrich, recipient of the Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice is Chairperson of the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, Older Adults and Families Concentration.  We applaud these outstanding NASW members for their contributions to the field of Geriatric Social Work.

Then we have all the Continuing Education Events on the subject of working with the Elderly  held this past year, including: Love, Sex and Aging: Intimacy and Older Adults; the film Beaches of Agnes that focused on successful and creative aging.  And the Major CE event of the  year for folks working with the Elderly-The Annual Nursing Home Conference.

Further, the Chapter has two wonderful Shared Interest Groups (SIGS) that concentrate on issues related to working with the elderly:  The Nursing Home SIG and the Elder Issues SIG.  Both of these groups keep us well abreast of the issues that relate to the aging population. And when you go on the National NASW webpage you’ll find loads of resources related to working with the Elderly, in particular the Aging Section which takes a look at Aging issues from a National perspective.

So, when I hear questions from members regarding what NASW is doing to support social workers working with the geriatric population, a big smile of pride crosses my face.  And I am sure there is more that can be done.  As always, let me hear from you about this or any other topic.
And lastly, for those of you who are wondering why does Carol have a particular interest in the aging subject and how old is she, anyways?  I want you to know that I have no interest whatsoever, in your age and, I appreciate your showing the same indifference to me.

With Best Regards,

Carol Trust (trust@naswma.org.)

Friday, April 8, 2011


Every now and then we find out about program/service that is so extraordinary, either because it is so focused on a population that has not been visibly served or so potentially controversial that folks may be worried about its implications, that it deserves some special coverage with the social work community.  This recently happened when I was visited in the office by Ms. Linda Kenney, President/Executive Director of MITSS. She had been directed my way by one of the Directors of Social Work at a major teaching hospital in Boston who ongoing continually uses the MITSS services.  The MITSS (Medically Induced Trauma Support Services) program is one such program.

Every social worker should know about this service, not only for their professional practice but also for their family’s’, friends’ and neighbors’ well- being.   I will take some language from the program’s written materials to adequately convey the purpose and value of this service.

Medically induced trauma is an unexpected outcome that occurs during medical and/or surgical care. These events may affect the emotional well- being of the patient and/or family members.  It is different from other types of traumas for several reasons: patients and their families may feel isolated because hospitals often are not set up to provide emotional support beyond the hospital stay; the trust between the care giver and the patient has been breached or, patients may feel vulnerable because they will need continued care within the same system that harmed them.

As a result of the medically induced trauma, patients can experience a whole range of serious emotional effects, immediately or even weeks or months later after the harmed experience.

This is where the MITSS program comes in by offering extensive therapeutic educational support groups for patients and their families as well as hotline availability where support and encouragement are always available.  In addition, the program works with medical organizations to provide education and process improvement.

This is truly a valuable niche service- especially during those times when an apology from the medical and surgical team is not enough.

You can find out more about the program at: www.mitss.org

Carol J. Trust