Nursing home social services: Policy and practice

Debra Parker-Oliver, Lori S. Kurzejeski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This purpose of this exploratory study is to describe the education, responsibilities, and knowledge of social service workers in skilled nursing facilities. The study used a stratified random sample for structured telephone interviews of 108 social service workers in Missouri. The data indicate that 16% of respondents have a graduate degree, 46% a bachelor's degree, and the remaining 38% have no college degree. Results show that 11% of facilities with more than 120 beds were out of compliance with OBRA requirements for a “qualified” social service staff person, while the credentials of 35% of facilities with less than 120 beds exceeded the credential requirements. Social service staff report their responsibilities include facilitating the social and psychological well being of residents, discharge planning, the admission process, and care planning, The findings have implications for policy makers as consideration is given to the mental health needs of nursing home residents and for social work educators preparing students for gerontological practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-50
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Gerontological Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004


  • Gerontology
  • Nursing homes
  • Policy
  • Practice
  • Social services
  • Social workers
  • Survey research


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