Week 3 Assignment 386 Geriatric Social Work Competency Scale II with Life‐long Leadership Skills: Social Work Practice Behaviors in the Field of Aging

Week 3 Assignment 386 Geriatric Social Work Competency Scale II with Life‐long Leadership Skills:

Social Work Practice Behaviors in the Field of Aging

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Geriatric Social Work Competency Scale II with Life‐long Leadership Skills:

Social Work Practice Behaviors in the Field of Aging

The following is a listing of skills recognized by gerontological social workers as important to social workers
to effectively work with and on behalf of older adults and their families. These competences are to be
developed at different levels across the social work learning continuum, from BSW to MSW, at the generalist
and advanced levels, and in post‐MSW life‐long learning. The GSW Scale II was designed for pre‐post
evaluations of education and field training.

Use the following scale to thoughtfully rate your current skill in each of the five sections listed below:

0 = Not Skilled At All (I have no experience with this skill)
1 = Beginning Skill (I have to consciously work at this skill)
2 = Moderate Skill (This skill is becoming more integrated in my practice)
3 = Advanced Skill (This skill is done with confidence and is an integral part of my practice)
4 = Expert Skill (I complete this skill with sufficient mastery to teach others)

0 1 2 3 4

Not Skilled At All Beginning Skill Moderate Skill Advanced Skill Expert Skill

(Knowledge and value base, which is applied through skills/competencies.)

Skill Level

1. Assess and address values and biases regarding aging.

2. Respect and promote older adult clients’ right to dignity and self‐determination.

3. Apply ethical principles to decisions on behalf of all older clients with special attention to
those who have limited decisional capacity.

4. Respect diversity among older adult clients, families, and professionals (e.g., class, race,
ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation).

5. Address the cultural, spiritual, and ethnic values and beliefs of older adults and families.

6. Relate concepts and theories of aging to social work practice (e.g., cohorts, normal aging,
life course perspective).

7. Relate social work perspectives and related theories to practice with older adults (e.g.,
person‐in environment, social justice).

8. Identify issues related to losses, changes, and transitions over the older adult life cycle in
designing interventions.

9. Support persons and families dealing with end‐of‐life issues related to dying, death, and

10. Understand the perspective and values of social work in relation to working effectively
with other disciplines in geriatric interdisciplinary practice.


Section I Comments:

Skill Level

1. Use empathy and sensitive interviewing skills to engage older clients in identifying their
strengths and problems.

2. Adapt interviewing methods to potential sensory, language, and cognitive limitations of
the older adult.

3. Conduct a comprehensive geriatric assessment (biopsychosocial evaluation).

4. Ascertain health status and assess physical functioning (e.g., ADLs, IADLs) of older

5. Assess cognitive functioning and mental health status of older clients (e.g., depression,

6. Assess social functioning (e.g., social skills, social activity level) and social support of
older clients.

7. Assess caregivers’ needs and level of stress.

8. Administer and interpret standardized assessment and diagnostic tools that are
appropriate for use with older adults (e.g., depression scale, Mini‐Mental Status Exam).

9. Develop clear, timely, and appropriate service plans with measurable objectives for older

10. Reevaluate and adjust service plans for older adults on a continuing basis.

Section II Comments:

Skill Level

1. Establish rapport and maintain an effective working relationship with older adults and
family members.

2. Enhance the coping capacities and mental health of older persons through a variety of
therapy modalities (e.g., supportive, psychodynamic).

3. Utilize group interventions with older adults and their families (e.g., bereavement
groups, reminiscence groups).

4. Mediate situations with angry or hostile older adults and/or family members.

5. Assist caregivers to reduce their stress levels and maintain their own mental and
physical health.


6. Provide social work case management to link elders and their families to resources and

7. Use educational strategies to provide older persons and their families with information
related to wellness and disease management (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, end of life care).

8. Apply termination skills in work with older adults and their families.

9. Advocate on behalf of clients with agencies and other professionals to help elders obtain
quality services.

10. Adhere to laws and public policies related to older adults (e.g., elder abuse reporting,
legal guardianship, advance directives).

Section III Comments:

Skill Level

1. Provide outreach to older adults and their families to ensure appropriate use of the
service continuum.

2. Adapt organizational policies, procedures, and resources to facilitate the provision of
services to diverse older adults and their family caregivers.

3. Identify and develop strategies to address service gaps, fragmentation, discrimination,
and barriers that impact older persons.

4. Include older adults in planning and designing programs.

5. Develop program budgets that take into account diverse sources of financial support for
the older population.

6. Evaluate the effectiveness of practice and programs in achieving intended outcomes for
older adults.

7. Apply evaluation and research findings to improve practice and program outcomes.

8. Advocate and organize with service providers, community organizations, policy makers,
and the public to meet the needs and issues of a growing aging population.

9. Identify the availability of resources and resource systems for older adults and their

10. Assess and address any negative impacts of social and health care policies on practice
with historically disadvantaged populations.

Section IV Comments:


Leadership skills are lifelong learning objectives for which a foundation is laid in social
work education. Competence is built over years of practice and continuing education

Skill Level

1. Assess “self‐in‐relation” in order to motivate yourself and others—including trainees,
students, and staff—toward mutual, meaningful achievement of a focused goal or
committed standard of practice.

2. Create a shared organizational mission, vision, values, and policies responding to ever
changing service systems in order to promote coordinated, optimal services for older

3. Analyze historical and current local, state, and national policies from a global human
rights perspective in order to inform action related to an identified social problem
and/or program for older adults for the purpose of creating change.

4. Plan strategically to reach measurable objectives in program, organizational, or
community development for older adults.

5. Administer programs and organizations from a strengths perspective to maximize and
sustain human (staff and volunteers) and fiscal resources for effectively serving older

6. Build collaborations across disciplines and the service spectrum to assess access and
continuity and reduce gaps in services to older adults.

7. Manage individual (personal) and multi‐stakeholder (interpersonal) processes at the
community, interagency, and intra‐agency levels in order to inspire and leverage power
and resources to optimize services for older adults.

8. Communicate to public audiences and policy makers through multiple media (e.g.,
synthesis reports, legislative statements) and orally presenting the mission and
outcomes of the services of an organization or for a diverse client group(s).

9. Advocate with and for older adults and their families for building age‐friendly
community capacity (including the use of technology) and enhancing the contribution of
older persons.

10. Promote use of research (including evidence based practice) to evaluate and enhance the
effectiveness of social work practice and aging related services.

Section V Comments:

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