Evolving social work roles in health care:The case of discharge planning

Soc Work Health Care. 1978 Fall;4(1):43-54. doi: 10.1300/j010v04n01_05.


This paper examines changing definitions of social work's role in health care and the continuing struggle for professional autonomy, in the context of the profession's responsibility for discharge planning. Planning for posthospital care is seen to be a major function of social work today and of traditional importance since social work's inception in the hospital setting. Major role and value conflicts are highlighted in a review of social work's traditional ambivalence toward the role of discharge planner and current recognition of the initial contribution of the profession to the continuing care of hospitalized patients.

MeSH terms

  • Hospital Administration
  • Hospital Departments
  • Humans
  • Patient Discharge / trends*
  • Professional Practice
  • Social Work / trends*