1st Edition

Nursing Home Social Work Research

Edited By Robin P. Bonifas, Mercedes Bern-Klug Copyright 2024

    This book focuses on the characteristics, roles, and training needs of social service delivery providers in leadership roles in U.S. skilled nursing facilities. The chapters in this volume explore a range of issues salient to nursing home social workers and social work practices such as realistic staffing ratios, qualification levels, dementia training needs, involvement in care transitions and admissions and barriers to psychosocial care. The book also addresses the Social Service Directors’ involvement in and preparation for disaster care planning, suicide risk management, and serious mental illness.

    This edited collection will greatly benefit students, academics and researchers in nursing, psychology, health and social work. The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Journal of Gerontological Social Work. 

    Mercedes Bern-Klug

    Introduction: Nursing Home Social Services Research
    Robin P. Bonifas

    1.  About a Third of Nursing Home Social Services Directors Have Earned a Social Work Degree and License
    Mercedes Bern-Klug, Kevin M. Smith, Amy Restorick Roberts, Nancy Kusmaul, Denise Gammonley, Paige Hector, Kelsey Simons, Colleen Galambos, Robin P. Bonifas, Chris Herman, Deirdre Downes, Jean C. Munn, Giang Rudderham, Elizabeth A. Cordes and Robert Connolly

    2.  Serious Mental Illness in Nursing Homes: Roles and Perceived Competence of Social Services Directors
    Denise Gammonley, Xiaochuan Wang, Kelsey Simons, Kevin M. Smith and Mercedes Bern-Klug

    3. Social Services Involvement in Care Transitions and Admissions in Nursing Homes
    Colleen Galambos, Laura Rollin, Mercedes Bern-Klug, Mike Oie and Eric Engelbart

    4. Dementia Tops Training Needs of Nursing Home Social Services Directors; Discharge Responsibilities Are Common Core Functions of the Department
    Mercedes Bern-Klug and Elizabeth Cordes

    5. Structural Characteristics of Nursing Homes and Social Service Directors that Influence Their Engagement in Disaster Preparedness Processes
    Nancy Kusmaul, Susanny Beltran, Tommy Buckley, Allison Gibson and Mercedes Bern-Klug

    6. Social Service Directors’ Roles and Self-Efficacy in Suicide Risk Management in US Nursing Homes
    Xiaochuan Wang, Kelsey Simons, Denise Gammonley, Amy Restorick Roberts and Mercedes Bern-Klug

    7. More Evidence that Federal Regulations Perpetuate Unrealistic Nursing Home Social Services Staffing Ratios
    Mercedes Bern-Klug, Kara A. Carter and Yi Wang

     8. Barriers to Psychosocial Care in Nursing Homes as Reported by Social Services Directors
    Amy Restorick Roberts, Kevin Smith, Mercedes Bern-Klug and Paige Hector

    9. Dementia Care Involvement and Training Needs of Social Services Directors in U.S. Nursing Homes
    Jung Kwak, Kevin M. Smith, Mercedes Bern-Klug and Kristin Kalin


    Robin Bonifas is Professor and Chair of the Social Work Department at Indiana State University, USA. She has over 15 years’ experience working with older adults in long-term care and inpatient psychiatric settings. She is a John A. Hartford Faculty Scholar and the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Gerontological Social Work.

    Mercedes Bern-Klug is Professor at the School of Social Work, University of Iowa, USA. She specializes in gerontology, with a focus on long-term services and supports for older persons and persons with disabilities She conducts research on how social workers and other health care providers can support older adults and their family members with the psychosocial implications of with medical decision-making in long-term care settings.