January 9, 2024

The importance of clinical care for discharged patients


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For many people, healthcare continues beyond leaving the hospital. While there are millions of people who leave clinics and wards with full bills of health, there are frequent cases where patients need additional support to ensure they remain happy and healthy for months and years to come.

Clinical care via social workers exists to help provide patients with one-to-one support for long-term concerns. However, it's a type of care that isn't just advisable for people discharged with ongoing issues, as it can also provide support to people who are otherwise considered healthy and fit for discharge.

Let's look at what clinical care means in practice and why it's important for healthy people and those needing extra support in the weeks and months ahead.

What is clinical care?

Clinical care is a type of social care support that occurs one-on-one and typically helps those who have long-term physical or mental disabilities. They might leave the hospital healthy after a specific illness or course of treatment, but there may be reasons for ongoing care to ensure they maintain a positive quality of life.

Social clinical care standards differ from person to person. For example, some people might benefit from physical walking aids, while others might need colostomy or ventilator support. The people who supply clinical care are highly experienced and have dedicated experience in finding resources that can support their clients.

Typically, clinical care occurs at home or through one-on-one sessions with a social worker. For instance, someone might need to visit regularly to ensure the client's living quarters are maintained and that they feel happy and supported in the community.

Anyone studying online MSW programs in New York or elsewhere at a reputable institution such as Keuka College will learn how to support people one-on-one. The online Master of Social Work program at Keuka College helps students gain the skills they need to make a difference in the lives of people from all backgrounds. With 100% online coursework, these programs also include field placement assistance to ensure students obtain the necessary hands-on experience required to graduate.

Not everyone in social care will be ill or have long-term needs. However, social workers frequently collaborate with nurses to help clinical patients find the relief and resources they need in the long term.

The importance of clinical care

Clinical care differs from direct nursing care in hospitals as it's not necessarily about treating specific illnesses to help people get better. As part of a broader social care focus, clinical care ensures people have access to local resources without having to worry about financial or accessibility issues.

The core tenets of clinical care are to provide people with a better quality of life and potentially extend their lives, too. Clinical care looks critically at the different factors in a patient's home life and environment and considers how they could benefit from improvement.

For instance, during clinical care, a social worker might look into the quality of a patient's water and air. As well as if local pollution is making their breathing condition worse or if they are continuing to smoke tobacco.

Clinical care practitioners think carefully about long-lasting changes they can suggest to ensure people live longer, healthier lives. Social workers can intervene in cases where socioeconomic factors come into play, too.

For instance, a social worker might be able to help patients find income support and enrichment opportunities, such as education from home, to improve their quality of life and potentially find remote working opportunities.

These are just examples, as everyone's case will differ. However, without clinical care, many people suffering from long-term conditions and debilitating illnesses might otherwise be restricted through no fault of their own.

Social workers can intervene and make suggestions regarding relaxation and wellness, alongside lifestyle changes, if they find that such changes might extend someone's life for the better. However, these suggestions and action plans only work effectively if the patient in question is receptive in return.

Clinical care's role in supporting healthy, discharged patients

As mentioned, just because someone is discharged from the hospital as healthy doesn't always mean they can continue living without some form of support.

In fact, a patient might find that while a hospital stay helps to remedy a specific illness or problem, nurses and doctors uncover underlying issues that require long-term support. For instance, some people may need catheter or colostomy support after a short illness.

One of the goals of this support is to help the patient avoid having to undergo painful and invasive surgeries and examinations in the future. In addition, clinical care via social work can help people leaving the hospital understand their limits and look positively at their modified lifestyle.

People who enter the hospital having suffered falls or accidents at work might find they need extra mobility support in the long term. Despite leaving a clinic discharged as healthy, they might discover that using walking aids or committing to physio exercises supports their joints and bones better.

Ultimately, for patients discharged from the hospital as healthy, clinical care acts as a preventative measure and a long-term support network. Social staff can support people in taking better care of themselves when they might not have the means to do so alone.

This means it can be immensely beneficial for many people to receive social worker visits over extended periods. In many cases, people receiving clinical care could benefit from supportive aids they can use independently. Clinical care doesn't always mean that people have constant, focused care around the clock.

Is clinical care always necessary?

Arguably, we all have problems and maladies; however, clinical care is often necessary in patient cases where there is a high risk of mobility issues or where they might be recovering from surgery or organ support.

While clinical care might not always be necessary for all discharged patients, there are millions out there who stand to benefit from the extra support that social workers provide. All it takes, in return, is for the patient to be receptive to the guidance they receive. After all, those supplying clinical care do so with a person's best interests at heart.


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