When you are struggling to navigate the system, just remember that Israel’s medical social workers serve the number one guidance function in the healthcare system here.
Have you ever had a sit-down meeting with your Kupat Cholim social worker? Hospital social worker? Medical social workers are trained assistance professionals there to offer guidance when you need it. What kind of guidance?
- Information about rights and services that relate specifically to a person’s circumstances, and practical guidance on acquiring them.
- Practical insight, and some hand holding, on navigating the medical system, whether it be within the Kupat Cholim network, in the hospital, or where the two overlap.
- More practical insight and assistance with other bureaucratic institutions, like Bituach Leumi.
- Help finding and connecting with organizations dedicated to particular conditions, where there may be even more resources of specific interest to you.
- Help with emotional coping in difficult situations.
When to see a social worker
Make an appointment when you …
Feel like you’ve hit a brick wall. You’re trying to get a particular service from the Kupah and it’s not working out well. A decision was made and you need help appealing it.
Have an ongoing medical issue. There may be medical or social services you are unaware of, or specific organizations or government programs specifically dedicated to your circumstances.
Make sure the interaction is productive
A Few Tips:
- Schedule a sit-down meeting and make sure there is enough time blocked out to discuss what you need.
- Delegate tasks to accomplish your goals. Note the things you need to do (e.g. call this office, obtain these documents, etc.) and the things the social worker is committing to doing (e.g. calling that office, finding out about that service, getting ahold of those forms, etc.).
- Schedule the next contact. e.g. The social worker will call you in two days with some more information on something, or you will meet again in a week to fill out forms together, etc.
- Show your appreciation. Everyone in the healthcare sector chose to go into a profession dedicated to helping others. The social workers especially, did not do it for the glamour.
Okay, it’s not always peachy
Plenty of people have met with a social worker without productive results, or perhaps even had an unpleasant experience (I’m treading lightly here), but the thing is, guidance is a necessity in many circumstances. It shouldn’t be an option to resign oneself to fumbling around in the dark because the first match was a little soggy. Just like finding the right doctor, you can’t give up until you’ve found the social worker that you can communicate with and find the guidance you need. So just look for…
The first interaction with the kupah or hospital social worker may not have satisfied, so try:
- Another kupah or hospital social worker. Speak to a branch or department secretary and ask how you can arrange a meeting with another social worker, perhaps with better English…
- Hadassah Kivunim. This is an admirable initiative in Hadassah Hospital, Ein Karem, where anyone, not just Hadassah patients, can access trained personnel for assessment of needs, assistance filling out forms and advice regarding benefits and services. Visit their offices, call 02-6777011 or email email@example.com.
- The Shira Pransky Project has absolutely no pretensions of actually performing the functions of medical social workers, but we will try to help you find one if you’re having some trouble. Send us an email.
There are times when guidance in healthcare is absolutely necessary, and the medical social workers of Israel are at your service.