A team approach to Parkinson’s disease (PD) often results in better outcomes and quality of life for people with PD and their care partners. Members of the team have specific expertise in evaluating and fulfilling the needs of the person and family. One of those members is the social worker, and ideally, one who specializes in chronic or progressive diseases. He or she can assess how the person is functioning in their environment, their emotional state, and their needs. Once the assessment is done, the social worker can help meet those needs by directing people to the most appropriate resources, or in the case of Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW’s), (or the equivalent in some states, Licensed Independent Social Workers), by directly providing therapy in the areas of mental and emotional health. Social workers also can function as a “point person” or starting point for people with PD and care partners who may know what they need but not where to find it or how to access it.
In this podcast episode, Elizabeth Delaney, LCSW, social worker in Columbia University’s movement disorders division and the center coordinator of the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at Columbia, describes the role of social workers as part of a Parkinson’s health care team, and she offers suggestions on how people with PD can find a social worker experienced in working with people with progressive diseases.
- Parkinson’s Foundation Resources for Social Workers
- PD Health @ Home: Psychologists, Social Workers, and Counselors: How Can They Help?
- Episode 38: More Than a Movement Disorder: Addressing Mood and Coping (podcast)
- The Expert Care Experience: The role of a social worker in caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease (blog)
About This Episode
Released: December 15, 2020
Elizabeth Delaney, LMSW
Elizabeth Delaney, LMSW, joined the Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) Movement Disorders team as a Licensed Social Worker and Center of Excellence Coordinator in June 2017. She got her start in the field of movement disorders during her second year of social work internship at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital Neuroscience Department, working within the outpatient Parkinson’s’ center. She has particular interest in mental health, health disparities, and community education. She completed the Allied Team Training for Parkinson’s in 2017 and continues to grow as a movement disorders mental health clinician. Elizabeth completed her Bachelor’s degree in psychology at Pace University and earned her Master’s degree in Social work from Columbia University.
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