Children's Hospital Colorado

Clinical Social Workers at Children's Hospital Colorado

At Children's Hospital Colorado, clinical social workers are an important part of your child's care team. Our clinical social workers have the knowledge and understanding needed to provide psychosocial services to children and families experiencing the difficulties associated with illness, hospitalization and outpatient care. A family can ask for a social worker at any point during their child's care at Children's Colorado.

What do clinical social workers do?

Clinical social workers provide counseling to individuals and families related to the patient's diagnosis and medical condition. Our clinical social workers help patients and families understand diagnoses, process their feelings and emotions and understand the decisions that need to be made.

At Children's Colorado, clinical social workers are a vital part of patient teams. Depending on your child or family's particular needs, our clinical social workers are here to help you with:

  • Adjustment to illness, hospitalization and outpatient care
  • Grief and bereavement counseling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Child advocacy and protection
  • Assistance with accessing hospital and community resources
  • Case coordination, consultation and discharge planning

Social workers also play an important role when handling cases of child abuse. Learn more about child abuse and neglect services provided by Children's Colorado.

How can a clinical social worker help?

While other faculty and staff are busy treating your child's physical ailments, our clinical social workers provide other services that can help make your familys stay easier. A clinical social worker can be requested to help patients and families deal with a variety of struggles.

  1. A challenging illness or diagnosis: Receiving test results or hearing a diagnosis can feel overwhelming. It's OK to need support. Ask for a social worker to help if you and your child are facing a medical challenge, such as:
    • Life-threatening illness
    • Changes in developmental functioning
    • Mental health conditions
    • End of life
    • Ingestion of a harmful substance
    • Traumas
  2. Family-related stressors: Support systems are important to recovery. Family-related stressors may include:
    • Minimal support system
    • Language, cultural and religious concerns
    • Homelessness
    • History of violence or abuse
    • Death of a family member
    • High levels of stress within the family and/or home environment
    • Caregivers with chronic illness
    • Concerns about caregiver/child relationship (i.e., parent is unsafe with child)
    • Single or young parents caring for multiple children or other ill children
    • Recent relocation
    • Divorce, custody or visitation
  3. Psychosocial needs: Children can suffer from behavioral, mental or social issues from outside the hospital. This can cause stress that may worsen their condition. Contact a social worker if you or your child is dealing with any of the following:
    • Financial problems (i.e., no transportation, no money to eat, no insurance, no housing, no utility services, telephone or medical services)
    • Repeated stays in the hospital
    • Caregiver/patient doesn't follow treatment or show up for appointments
    • Family/patient has history of alcohol or drug abuse
    • Family is in conflict with hospital staff
    • Family is unable to follow-through with medical treatment
    • Patient or sibling is not attending school
    • Family/patient is involved in gangs/street violence
    • Extended family is impeding patient's care
  4. Legal help: Patients enter our hospital with a variety of legal issues ranging from adoption to religious exclusion and even abandonment. Our clinical social workers may be able to assist with or make referrals for patients in the event of:
    • Adoptions, foster care placements and/or relinquishments
    • Abandonment
    • Custody/guardianship issues or conflicts
    • Determination of medical decision-making authority
    • Previous involvement with Department of Human Services
    • Consideration of DNR/termination of life support
    • Imprisonment, hospitalization or rehabilitation of a caregiver
    • Religious beliefs that do not allow certain medical practices
  5. Concern for the patient: A clinical social worker may also be requested if parents, guardians, family or care providers have concerns about a child’s failure to thrive or abuse, neglect or non-accidental trauma.