The duties of a hospital social worker are to aid in patient understanding of their conditions, assessment of a patient's needs and to help the patient develop a transition plan from the hospital back into society. This can include anything from transitioning back to a patient's home or care facility.
The hospital social worker also helps a patient or the patient's family to take advantage of any available resources to help during the hospital stay or after the patient leaves the facility. This can range from aid with insurance to helping to develop a care plan. If the patient is set to transition to a care facility, the hospital social worker can help in finding a facility to meet the patient's needs, whether that be a nursing home, an assisted care facility or a halfway house. After release, a hospital social worker may even make followup visits to the patient to check if further aid is needed.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that in 2009 there were 42,150 social workers working in either general or surgical hospitals. The hourly mean wage for these workers was $25.83, while the yearly mean wage was $53.73. The pay for hospital social work tends to change according to location, with the highest payment being for those workers in the District of Columbia at an hourly mean of $31.86 and a yearly mean payment of $66,270 in 2009.