Frequently Asked Questions About Social Work


1. What do hospital social workers do?

Social worker Deborah Smulian-Siegel provides a listening ear to a patient.Hospital (or medical) social workers play a unique role in the hospital community. They are important members of a patient's health care team and work with doctors, nurses and other health professionals to provide comprehensive care for the patient. 

2. How can social workers help you?

Social workers are trained in psychology, sociology, human growth and behavior, and cultural diversity. Social workers use their clinical skills to conduct psychosocial assessments. Using this information, social workers are able, with a patient's input, to determine the patient's needs and tailor their interventions accordingly. The social workers at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center are all masters-level clinicians licensed to practice by the state of Massachusetts.  

3. What's an intervention?

Social worker Lisa Catalano (center) collaborates about cardiac patients’ care with Diane Koczat, RN (L) and Patricia Toye, RN (R) in the Cardiac Rehab Gym.An intervention is any action taken by a social worker to empower patients to identify their priorities and make changes, if necessary. Examples of interventions are counseling for both patients and their families, connecting patients to appropriate community and hospital resources, assisting with insurance issues, and addressing emotional and social concerns related to the patient's illness. Hospital social workers see patients individually, but also facilitate support groups for patients with similar illnesses and concerns.

4. Does Lahey Hospital & Medical Center offer support groups? 

Yes. Social workers at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center offer a variety of support groups for patients and, in some cases, their families. Support groups are offered for patients with breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and cardiac issues, among others. Please call 781-744-3496 for more information.