Research by John Bowblis and Amy Roberts cited in Forbes article about importance of social workers in nursing homes

John Bowblis and Amy Roberts collaborating in front of a computer

Despite their importance, many nursing homes lack social workers

Excerpts from an article by Stephenie Overman, Next Avenue Contributor, Forbes

Nursing home residents and their families rely on social workers to help navigate the maze of decisions required to meet their often-changing health needs. Social workers also provide emotional support and interventions to help residents adapt and cope with cognitive and mental health issues, such as dementia and depression.

But how likely are there to be well qualified social workers when and where they’re needed?

That's what John Bowblis and Amy Roberts set out to assess in their study for the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where they are both research fellows. Bowblis also is a research fellow in the university’s school of business and Roberts is an assistant professor of family science and social work.

Staffing Level Varies Widely
About 83% of nursing homes have at least one qualified social worker (QSW) on staff on a part-time basis, but only 68% have a least one full-time qualified social worker in the facility, according to Bowblis’ and Roberts’ research.

"There is significant variation in the presence of QSWs by facility size — smaller facilities (in terms of number of beds) are less likely to have QSWs," Bowblis says.