Coordinated by Social Workers at Boston Medical Center

Social workers at Boston Medical Center complete clinical and psychosocial assessments in order to identify patient needs. Based on patient's needs, social workers can assist patients with some of the following services:

Access to Community Resources

Social workers have knowledge of how to access many community resources to help with basic needs (clothing, food, shelter, etc) and mental health resources for individuals, couples, and families to help treat a range of psychological and social issues. Social workers are also specially trained to make best use of community resources and appropriate referrals for our patients.

Adoption or Foster Care

There are many times when questions or discussion about adoption and/or foster care arise and social workers can help answer these questions, provide support to patients, and make appropriate referrals to agencies that can further assist our patients who have these needs.

Clothing Bank

Boston Medical Center is fortunate to have an on site clothing bank that holds basic seasonal clothing, shoes and coats for patients in need. Social workers are some of the few people in the hospital that have access to this resource and consulting with a social worker is necessary to access the clothing bank.

Community Violence

When we think of community violence several things come to mind including shootings, muggings and assaults. In an urban area, we are all at greater risk for exposure to these types of incidents. The lasting effects of community violence on children and adults may be physical, medical and psychological. A social worker may provide emotional support to patients and their families and make necessary referrals to community resources that can provide support to the patients and their families.

Coping with Illness, Treatment and Recovery

Many of our patients come to Boston Medical Center for treatment of serious illness and part of their comprehensive care may include speaking with a social worker. Social workers provide patients with support during their treatment and recovery, act as a liaison between patients, their families and the medical teams, facilitate family meetings, and provide grief and bereavement support.

Cultural Competence

Boston Medical Center and its patients are very culturally diverse and social workers are trained in cultural competence and best practices when working with diverse client populations. Social workers strive to be culturally competent when working with patients and can provide insight to hospital staff about working with our diverse population.

Employment Concerns

Employment issues can be stressful for patients and their families. Social workers are available to assist patients and their families with resources and referrals for employment assistance. We can help individuals who may have questions about unemployment benefits and supports. We also provide support around job related issues while you are in the hospital.

Financial Stressors

In addition to referring patients to various community resources specialized in housing, food, clothing etc; social workers are also able to help patients cope with significant financial stressors. This may also include referrals to community agencies and/or assistance navigating systems in the community.

Grief, Loss and End of Life Issues

Grief and loss affects everyone's life in some shape or form. Social workers are available to discuss the grief and loss patients are experiencing as well as provide them with resources for further exploration into their situation once discharged. Social workers are also available to assist patients that are coping with their own end of life issues.


Social workers provide support and education around obtaining guardianship for our patients and our patients' families. Social workers can be very essential in discussing the process of obtaining guardianship through the courts which can be confusing for patient's families especially during stressful times.

Healthcare Proxy

Social workers can complete a healthcare proxy with patients. A healthcare proxy is a legal document stating who you would like to make your medical decisions in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. It is also important for you to have a conversation with your proxy about what your medical wishes are in any situation including end of life circumstances. It is beneficial for patients of all ages to complete a healthcare proxy in order for Boston Medical Center to always uphold the patient's medical wishes as our first priority.


Homelessness can be stressful and dangerous for patients experiencing medical issues. A social worker can discuss shelter options with you as well as complete referrals for Barbara McInnis House if medically appropriate. Social workers can also provide contact information for Boston Housing Authority as well as discuss with patients the process of applying for public housing.

Housing Issues

Social workers can discuss many different housing issues patients may be having. Social workers are able to provide patients with information on applying for housing. Social workers can also assist in providing patients with information for addressing housing conditions that may be harmful to a persons health as well as contact information for inspectional services and the mayor's hotline.

Intimate Partner Violence (Domestic Violence)

Intimate partner violence (IPV) consists of physical, sexual and psychological harm or threats if harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual and same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy. A social worker may provide emotional support to patients who have experienced IPV and make referrals to applicable inpatient services and community resources.

Issues of Abuse or Neglect

Social workers, like all professionals within the hospital setting, are mandated to report suspected abuse and neglect of children, elders and disabled persons. Social workers are available to discuss these issues with our patients and their families as well as staff to explain the process of what happens when filing a report and after a report is filed.

Legal Resources

There are many reasons why our patients and their families may seek legal advice including custody issues, disability resources, divorce, estate planning, housing issues (evictions or foreclosure) and the guardianship process. Only attorneys are permitted to give legal advice, however a social worker can provide referral information to local agencies that may be able to assist you with legal services.

Mental Health / Behavioral Health issues

Mental health and behavioral health issues affect many people throughout the lifespan. Social workers can provide support as well as resources and referrals for support both at Boston Medical Center and in the larger community. Social workers can make referrals for individual therapy, psychopharmacology services, in-home family supports and more. Social workers can provide brief crisis intervention in certain situations which includes providing short term emotional support to our patients and their families.

Parenting and Care Giving Concerns

Many families need support around issues of parenting and care giving. Social workers are available to meet with families to provide support around this complex issue. Social workers have resources that they can provide to families upon request.

School Related Concerns

Social workers are able to help children and families with school issues, advocating with families for better educational services or assist with issues like bullying. We can address barriers to school registration. Social workers can hep provide information and referrals for adult education, GED programs and English as a second language classes.

Substance Abuse Issues

Substance abuse issues can affect many individuals and their families. Substance abuse issues can contribute to ongoing health concerns that can be dangerous. Social workers can provide motivational interviewing to help patients to understand their substance abuse addiction. We can also provide substance abuse treatment resources to both patients and their families and facilitate admission to programs.

Transportation Applications

Social workers can help patients and their families apply for medical transportation services. We can also help patients locate transportation services close to their homes to assist in getting to medical appointments.

Trauma Support

Trauma can consist of a physical or psychological experience, such as an accident, an emotional wound that causes lasting effects or an event or situation that causes great distress. Following a trauma people go through a wide range of normal physical and emotional responses. A social worker can provide emotional support for patients and their families following a traumatic event as well as appropriate referral information for community resources.

Utility Resources

We recognize that sometimes loss of a job, illness or other unforeseen events can weigh on your finances. A social worker can discuss this with you and provide referral information to local community resources that may be able to assist you with utility resources.