Need Some Support? The UEC Offers a Variety of Social Services
The Department of Social Work is part of the University Eye Center’s interprofessional team of health care providers who work together to provide a wide range of services for patients. Ms. Iris Rosen, the UEC’s director of social work, talks about some of the services her department provides to those served by the clinic:
You conduct free support groups at the University Eye Center, including groups for survivors of traumatic brain injury and their loved ones, as well as support groups for people with low vision and their loved ones. Can you tell us about these groups?
All of our support groups meet monthly and those in attendance are invited to share a little bit about themselves and their experience. The group then discusses a specific, agreed upon topic. Our Support Group for Survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury and Stroke is for individuals who have experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or an acquired brain injury. Past topics have included issues like coping with life and personal changes related to TBI, managing relationships with family and friends and becoming your own advocate. This group typically has a large attendance, which helps members see that they are not alone and can learn from one another’s experiences. It takes place on the first Monday of every month from 12:15 pm to 1:45 pm
Our Support Group for Loved Ones of Survivors of TBI and Stroke is for loved ones, who are most often family or friends. Past topics for this group have included the challenges of caregiving and managing self-care. It meets the third Monday of each month from 4 pm to 5:30pm.
Our Support Group for Individuals with Visual Impairments/ Low Vision Issues and Their Loved Ones has typically addressed topics such as finding and using available resources, knowing your rights and advocating for yourself as well as using devices or techniques to help manage loss of vision. This group takes place on the third Monday of each month from 12:15 pm to 1:45 pm.
For our complete calendar of support group listings click here
In addition to these support groups, what other social work services are available at the UEC?
The Social Work Department offers limited free, individual counseling to all patients and their loved ones as well as students and staff at UEC.
In addition, the Social Work Department contacts patients referred to the Head Trauma and Low Vision units to gather information about each patient’s history and needs before their first appointment. By doing this, we can help the doctor provide a more comprehensive exam, as well as identify any gaps in service. When appropriate the Social Work Department can provide referrals to the support groups or counseling, as well as to outside resources as needed.
Interprofessional care is becoming increasingly important in today’s health care community. Can you explain how social workers collaborate with the optometrists and other practitioners at the UEC as well as with health care providers throughout the community?
At the UEC, social workers and optometrists collaborate so that a fuller picture of the patient’s situation is developed. For example, a doctor may know that a patient is not taking his or her medication regularly. The social worker may then find out, through meeting with the patient, that he or she cannot afford medication. By communicating with one another, the social worker and optometrist can develop a plan of care to help the patient afford and follow through with his or her treatment plan. Optometrists and social workers can also provide information to outside care teams when requested by the patient.
Ms. Iris Rosen is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW-R) and director of social work at the University Eye Center. For more information about the UEC’s social work services, or to register to attend any of the UEC’s support groups mentioned above, please contact Ms. Rosen at 212-938-4039.