09:20 AM

Patients Need Psychosocial Support Now More Than Ever: Q&A with Adena Batterman, MSW, LCSW

The Rheumatologist interviews Adena Batterman, MSW, LCSW, senior manager of inflammatory arthritis support and education programs at HSS, who discussed the effects of COVID-19 on rheumatology professionals, and how she and her staff have changed the continuity of patient care.

Batterman explained rheumatology patients have been accessing non-urgent services via telemedicine, while there are essential rheumatology services in place for patients who need to be seen on site. Social workers continue to be available to address the essential psychosocial needs of patients in person or virtually to help them manage their conditions through the crisis.

“We have now transitioned all our support and education groups and patient education lectures to virtual platforms—all in a matter of weeks. Our clinical social workers and group facilitators have now had the experience of running virtual group sessions with excellent patient participation,” said Batterman. “We’ve created staff forums to help support and learn from each other as we have transitioned to virtual platforms [and] to share vital information and lessons learned as these initiatives roll out. Much of our work with individual patients has also been done by teleconference, [because] many of our patients are at home. We are in the process of rolling out telemedicine for social work interventions, alongside our medical colleagues,” she said.

“In real time, all my social work colleagues are learning about newly created resources, many of them online, to accommodate patients who are unable to access them in person and are sharing these with each other," Batterman concluded. 

Read the full article at the-rheumatologist.org.