A hospital social worker has been assigned to work with a 72-year-old man who is
requesting release from the hospital. The patient tells the social worker his family wants
him to stay in the hospital, despite his desire to leave. What should the social worker do
A. Talk with the family about their reasons for wanting him to stay in the hospital
B. Talk to the doctor about the man’s condition
C. Explore the client’s feelings
D. Arrange for the client to be transferred to an assisted living facility
The correct answer is “C” – Explore the client’s feelings. The man is the client and the social
worker should “begin where the client is.” Talking to the doctor about the man’s condition
(answer “B”) is not correct as the FIRST step that the social worker should take; although, it will
be an important step in the future. Talking with the family about their reasons for wanting him to stay in the hospital (answer “A”) is also not the first step; however, it is a good NEXT step.
Arranging for the client to be transferred to an assisted living facility (answer “D”) may or may
not be a course of action later on, but is certainly not the FIRST step before gathering more
information about this case.
(Also, check out the variation in the answer option listed in blue color below):
The answer does not change with this new variation. It is important to note that the question asks
for the FIRST thing the social worker should do. By having a discussion with the client about his
feelings, the social worker may obtain information that changes the situation completely. For
instance, the man may tell the social worker that he feels like he can not stay at the hospital
because he has a cat to tend to or may be concerned about the cost of care. If these concerns can
be addressed, the man may feel differently about the hospital stay. Therefore, it is important to
first gather information from the client. Self-determination is important; however, it may not be
our FIRST answer choice depending on the other answer choices in a particular question. This is
a very important concept to understand for the exam.
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