Education, Policy, Practice and Research

Barbara Berkman and Linda Harootyan , Social Work and Health Care in all Aging Society: Education, Policy, Practice and Research

Judie Svihula

Barbara Berkman and Linda Harootyan (Eds.), Social Work and Health Care in all Aging Society: Education, Policy, Practice and Research. New York: Springer Publishing Co., 2003. $ 52.95 hardcover.

Accessibility to health care as well as multiple and changing treatment modalities and delivery options pose significant challenges to social workers. Changes in Medicare options and coverage, as well as on-going technological advances, merge with the growing population of older adults to create particular concern for gerontological social workers. This compilation of papers by leaders and scholars in the field of social gerontology focuses on important issues at the intersection of health care and social work in an aging society.

Compiled and edited by Barbara Berkman and Linda Harootyan, Social Work and Health Care in an Aging Society covers a range of topics that includes clinical issues such as depression, dementia, and developmental disabilities; care delivery modalities such as assessment methods and case management, home health and community based long term care; and social concerns related to culture and care giving. The authors systematically place the significance of their topic in the context of health care and social work, discuss prior and present research including their own contributions, offer their recommendations for future research, provide implications for policy, and suggest methods for integrating the knowledge into the masters in social work educational curriculum. The concluding chapter is a review of the significant trends affecting health care for, as well as the health of, older adults.

The contributors to Social Work and Health Care in an Aging Society have performed a brilliant job of selecting, outlining and discussing the major health care issues for today’s social workers. Most impressive was the concise coverage of each topic that includes not only significance, research, and policy implications, but also curriculum advice. Also noteworthy was the prolific use of definitions throughout the book. Because of the particular salience of educating social workers on health care and aging, chapter sections addressing social work curriculum would have been improved by the consistent inclusion of illustrative appendices containing course syllabi. The book’s striking coverage of major health care issues will certainly inspire many social workers to greater participation in policy development and client empowerment; hence, readers might have benefitted from a brief instructive discussion of the basic advocacy methods available to most social workers (such as arranging community meetings and lectures on topics such as health care policies and programs, retirement policies and planning, and long-term care as well as engaging local merchants and businesses in community education efforts through distributing informational brochures). Nevertheless, the authors of Social Work and Health Care in an Aging Society have produced an informative handbook for all health care practitioners and an invaluable contribution to social work; it will appeal to professionals, researchers, teachers, and students alike.

Judie Svihula, University of California, Berkeley

COPYRIGHT 2004 Western Michigan University, School of Social Work

COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group