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Social Work in Health Care in the 21st Century.

Surjit Singh Dhooper. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1997. 364 pp. $55 hardcover, ISBN 0-8039-5932-X; $25.95 paperback, ISBN 0-8039-5933-8.

This book builds concepts related to contemporary and future social work practice in health care. Dhooper presents an opening statement describing the thrust of the book: "The future is never completely divorced from the past; coming events cast their shadows before them; and people have power over the future - we build it both by what we do and what we do not do" (p. x). From this concept the text develops, and the result is a work filled with practical and visionary methodologies vigorous and creative in their presentation, and which emanate from historical and contemporary fact and experience.

The author brings impressive credentials to the subject of social work in health care, having 32 years of professional experience in direct practice, administration, and community organization methods and in teaching at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. In addition, he is a member of university, community, and national level committees on racial and ethnic diversity. He brings this wealth of experience to bear on the contemporary social work position in health care, namely, to establish a social work presence and to capitalize on its many skills pertinent to the new world of capitation and managed care.

The book is divided into eight sections that discuss the history and future of health care and social work in acute, ambulatory, and long-term care and in health prevention and promotion. The author describes specific social work skills suited to each of the areas discussed as he differentiates among the patient populations and describes their needs and abilities. For example, for acute care patients, he lists roles as community liaison, consultant, community organizer, collaborator, educator, discharge planner, resource mobilizer, caseworker, and counselor. He relates these roles to the needs of patient subgroupings, such as elderly, disabled, and HIV-positive people and the victims of domestic violence and abuse. As a result of the dramatic advancement of medical technology, the increasing number of patients with longer-term chronic illnesses also requires increased planning.

By giving this kind of attention to all areas of health care, the author establishes the social work profession as a quintessential ingredient in the future health care team. His work is interwoven with additional complex textures such as ethics in an environment of increasingly limited resources, the human genome experiments and their implications for patient and family care, and the explosion of medical and computer technology as they affect our knowledge and communication skills. There is even a very helpful chapter dedicated to the strategies for thriving as a health care social worker. Focus is given to stress management, time management, self-empowerment, research knowledge, conflict resolution, coalition building, resource development, community development, culturally sensitive practice, and working under managed care.

This book is timely now. Dhooper's vision should be shared with social work students and new practitioners, and with seasoned practitioners who are thinking about their past experience and training in relation to the new demands of the health care system.

Margherita Jellinek School of Social Work Columbia University New York
COPYRIGHT 1998 National Association of Social Workers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Jellinek, Margherita
Publication:Health and Social Work
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 1998
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