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Streamline patient care with a social worker home visit checklist

Conduct a comprehensive social work visit with the help of social worker home visit checklists that ensure you address aspects ranging from living conditions to potential mental health issues

What is a social worker home visit checklist?

Social worker home visit checklists enforce guidelines that ensure client health is assessed in a thorough, consistent, and professional manner. In order for a home visit to be effective, the checklist you used needs to cover all the guidelines for social workers, including:

  • The client’s living space
  • The household members’ health
  • The household members’ habits (eating and sleeping)
  • The household member’s leisure time activities

An incorrect assessment may wind up damaging the patient’s overall wellbeing. This is why many healthcare facilities use a standardized social worker home visit checklist, because it’s a step-by-step walkthrough that ensures patient safety and living conditions are evaluated correctly.

Why use a social worker home visit checklist?

Home visit safety checklists for social workers are a means of identifying hazards present in a client’s living situation. During a home visit, social workers document every detail included in these checklists, leading to the most objective and accurate assessment possible.

These checklists are necessary because they gather all relevant information in one place so that clients get the best service possible. A social worker home visit checklist will make sure that all potential issues are identified before going into a client’s house, so that when something goes wrong, you’re prepared to address it.

What should a social worker home visit checklist include?

Social services workers are often the first point of contact for people who are experiencing a crisis. A social work home visit checklist can be used to determine whether or not a patient is ready to return to work, or by a judge who is deciding whether or not someone can be granted custody of their child.

They are responsible for ensuring that the people they serve have access to the help they need, and for making sure that clients are as comfortable as possible during social work visits.

Given those responsibilities, a social worker home visit checklist needs to:

  • Check for unsafe or unhealthy conditions
  • Look for physical hazards
  • Note family members in the home
  • Include pictures of the household
  • Document signs of poor mental health
  • Check for social support from family and friends

How do you write a social worker home visit checklist?

1. Check for unsafe or unhealthy conditions

Pest infestations, rodent infestations, cockroach infestations, bed bugs, fleas, and lice are some of the most common health hazards that you may encounter during a home visit investigation.

Check for signs of these pests inside and outside the home. If you find any evidence of these conditions, your client may require assistance getting rid of them or changing their living situation.

A home visit safety checklist for social workers should include the following:

  1. The client’s home is free from pests, rodents, cockroaches and other insect infestation.
  2. The client’s home environment is not exposed to extreme weather conditions that can breed insect infestation.
  3. The client is living in premises that are free from pests.

2. Look for physical hazards

Look for trip hazards, fall hazards, sharp edges on furniture, and any other items that could injure children. Make sure nothing in the home poses an electrical hazard. Check for frayed or poorly placed cords (such as those near a table leg or child’s toy).

Look for anything that has exposed wires or hot surfaces. Inspect all outlets and light switches and make sure they are not tampered with in any way.

During home visits, social workers should make sure:

  1. No harmful exposure to clients’ health is observed, such as household products with hazardous ingredients like ammonia, bleach, or paint thinner (all of which can cause poisoning)
  2. No issue needs to be reported to Child Welfare Services for further investigation
  3. Handrails are provided for the senior’s bathroom
  4. Furnishings and activities are age appropriate

3. Note family members in the home

The checklist should includes names of the client’s family members. It’s important to ask the family questions about their living situation, such as:

  1. Are there any new members?
  2. Has anything changed recently? (e.g., birth, death)
  3. Have there been any recent moves? (e.g., recently returned from evacuation center)

4. Take lots of pictures

Taking pictures is a great way to document the condition of a home. It’s also important to take pictures of any food, clothing or toys that the patients use. For example, do you only see one pair of shoes for all three children? This could be a sign that someone in the family needs new shoes.

Taking photos also reminds you what you saw during your visit and gives you something tangible to show later on in court or in meetings with other professionals.

Take pictures of the backyard or outside area to document the condition of the home and provide evidence for your report.

Any photos you take should:

  1. Be well lit, in focus, and taken with a good quality camera (e.g., digital). Don’t use your smartphone’s camera.
  2. Have all relevant information in frame (e.g., both sides of the house; sidewalk leading up to the house).
  3. Include multiple versions for different times of day so that you can capture every possible view (e.g. to show how dark it gets in the front yard when streetlights turn off).

5. Observe mental health signs

While a social worker home visit is mainly focused on the patient’s physical health, it’s important to check in on their mental health as well. Mental health problems can make a person feel isolated, which can lead to depression and even suicide.

If you notice that your patient is showing signs of depression, isolation, or any other signs of mental distress, make sure to speak with them about it. You may also propose therapy.

Some signs you as a social worker should look for include:

  1. Excessive sadness
  2. Feelings of worthlessness
  3. Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  4. Sleep problems (insomnia or sleeping too much)
  5. Low energy and fatigue
  6. Irritability

6. Find out If they’re getting enough support from family and friends

A person’s support network is a vital aspect of a social worker home visit checklist. Informal carers provide important emotional and practical help for people with mental health problems, but are not always a support system as such. You can evaluate feelings of support by asking:

  • Do you feel that your family/friends give you enough support?
  • If not, what do they need to do more of?
  • How often do you visit your family or friends every week?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you with your social circles?

Old lady opening the door to a social worker volunteer


Writing a social worker home visit checklist using workflow automation

Quality social worker home visit checklists are essential for social workers, especially when they’re new to the job. As a new social worker, it can be hard to know what information you’ll need and how much time you’ll have to devote to each task.

Paper-based checklists can be difficult to manage, especially if you’re dealing with multiple cases. That’s where workflow automation solutions like Lumiform come in. Lumiform makes creating checklists easy with a digital form builder, centralizes your staff, and synchronizes all their tasks so that they can work autonomously. Using Lumiform’s mobile app and desktop software allows you to:

  • Turn all your manual data, records and images into digital forms that can be completed and viewed by any of your team members
  • Make home visits faster, safer, and free of errors by recording even the smallest details automatically in regularly-generated analysis reports
  • Help you and your social workers stay organized days or even weeks in advance with regular notifications and updates
  • Create custom forms that are 100% tailor-made to suit your needs
  • Complete your social work visits up to 10 times faster

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