A Day in the Life of a Geriatric Social Worker with the Rothkoff Law Group
By: Janie De Leon-Male, M.S.S., LSW, Director of Care Coordination
Often times, our elder law office will get the perennial questions, “You have social workers in your elder law firm? What do they do? How can they help me with mom and dad?”
Well, to give you an idea as to how our social workers help our families, here is a rundown of our typical day:
8:00 a.m. – Wake-up and complete client work from the day’s prior appointments.
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Initial social work assessment for a new client. Points that are covered during this two-hour assessment are: Assess for level of care. Is the client safe to stay at home, with the appropriate familial support and other services such as home care or adult medical day care? Do we need to look at assisted living or nursing home care? How do we pay for that care? Do we apply for VA Benefits, Medicaid, or assist in filing a long-term care insurance claim?
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Emergency client meeting at the local hospital, as the hospital is ready to discharge the client, but the family does not know where to turn for rehab or how their loved one’s care will be paid, i.e. insurance or private pay.
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Care conference at a local nursing home, as the nursing home is concerned about the client’s behaviors and wants to send the client out to an in-patient geriatric psychiatric unit for medication management. The social worker’s role is to work with the nursing home and family on other ways to manage the client’s behaviors in-house, before considering the admission to an in-patient geriatric psychiatric unit, which can be very scary intimidating for the family.
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Care conference at a local assisted living, as the assisted living feels that the client needs to transition to their memory neighborhood and the family is concerned about how this change will affect their loved one.
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Family meeting at a client’s home, as the family can no longer care for their loved one at home and is ready to consider exploring assisted living or nursing home options. The social workers will more than likely schedule the family’s tour with the assisted living and or nursing home. Most importantly, the social workers are mapping a specific timeline regarding the move and how our office would need to revise their loved one’s legal and financial plan with our office.
5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – In collaboration with one of the three attorneys from our office, facilitate a continuing education seminar (over dinner, hopefully) with area long-term care professionals to update them on the ever changing Medicaid and VA regulations.
After 8:00 p.m. – Arrive home. (In my case, I have a five-year old son at home, so thank goodness, my family is supportive!)
Throughout the day (in between the appointments above), the social workers are returning client phone calls and emails (from our cars) to guide our families through changes in their loved one’s care needs, and updating our office on these changes.
As you can see, the social workers from our office are charged with helping our families map-out next steps and identify resources and strategies to ensure that their loved one receives the best possible care in their home, assisted living, or nursing home.

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