Answered Questions: Monthly News for the Disability Community on Social Workers for August 2021

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: It was recently recommended that I contact a social worker to help me find service providers, fill out paperwork, and so on. But I do not know exactly what social workers do. What research and information are available to help me learn more about social workers and how they may be able to assist me? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss home and community-based services person-centered outcomes and measurements; the use of virtual reality to help clients gain social competency skills before returning to work; the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on social-ethics and psycho-social support; returning to work after burn injuries with and without inhalation injuries; social work and technology; social workers in neurorehabilitation; intervention use by social workers in addiction recovery; and more. More about Answered Questions.

NIDILRR-Funded Projects:

Social workers help their clients with and without disabilities meet their needs and goals through interventions, transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, acquiring assistive technology, home- and community-based services (HCBS), and more. The Home and Community-Based Services Person-Centered Outcomes and Measurements (in English) accelerates the development and application of non-medical, person-centered outcome measures that inform the design, implementation, and continuous improvement of federal and state HCBS programs, policies and interventions. These outcome measures may help social workers evaluate HCBS programs for their clients with and without disabilities.

Social workers may use technology to help their clients with disabilities enter or return to the workplace, including people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). They may use a Virtual Reality Job Interview Training (VR-JIT) program to help their clients gain the social competency skills they need for successful job interviewing. The project Using Virtual Reality to Improve Job Reentry in Adults with TBI: An RCT (in English) examines the efficacy of VR-JIT in improving job interview performance and confidence of people with TBI; examines the efficacies of VR-JIT in improving employment outcomes at long-term follow-up; and examines the qualitative feedback regarding VR-JIT by members of the TBI community.

From the NARIC Collection:

Social workers may be an essential part of psychosocial support for people with disabilities and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article, COVID-19 lockdown and its impact on social-ethics and psycho-social support for disability care (in English), explores the social-ethics dimension and the psychosocial support for people with disabilities, as well as health and social care practitioners during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has motivated the enactment of public health control procedures such as quarantines. The article discusses the impacts of quarantine and the interventions used to relieve the strain felt during quarantine. The article provides recommendations for people with disabilities and their families in quarantine and the management of perceptions of public health risks, threats, and working with health and social care workers.

Research In Focus:

Social workers may help people with burn injuries and with or without inhalation injuries find the resources they need to find and maintain employment, find resources for their physical and mental health, and more. The article, People with Inhalation Injuries After a Burn Injury May Have Additional Challenges Returning to Work, looks a study from the Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System Center (in English) that looked at data from burn survivors with and without inhalation injuries. Researchers wanted to find out whether the burn survivors with inhalation injuries required more hospital care than those without inhalation injuries and whether the burn survivors with inhalation injuries had lower levels of employment, physical or mental health, or life satisfaction after injury than burn survivors without inhalation injuries. The researchers found that individuals with inhalation injuries were less likely to return to work than those without these injuries and they noted that employment is an important marker of recovery for people with burn injuries. This article is also available in English.


The article, Social work and technology: Acceptance and use among professionals in training, discusses research on how the use of technology affects the practice of social work in the realm of social innovation. The first half of this article discusses the theoretical context of technology use in social work and different concepts in social innovation. The second half discusses a survey of social workers on their knowledge, use, and acceptance of novel technologies in their education and practice and the ethical issues that come from the use of technology in their practices. The study found that social workers are open to and willing to use technology in their educational and professional lives and that such technologies help them manage the coordination of resources for their clients and communication between professionals.


Social workers may work in a variety of environments, including in neurorehabilitation. The article, The importance of the social worker in interdisciplinary neurorehabilitation teams, defines a social worker as a member of the interdisciplinary team who addresses situations and works to improve the quality of life of those affected by a disability and their families, including their social needs. The article also describes what a social worker in an interdisciplinary neurorehabilitation team may do to help people with disabilities in all areas of their life, such as family, friends, school, work, and social environment. The social worker also adapts each intervention to each person so that they achieve the greatest autonomy possible.

The article, Social work and its intervention in therapeutic social rehabilitation communities for the use of psychoactive substances in the city of Portoviejo, discusses a study to identify the interventions used by social workers in the therapeutic social rehabilitation centers for the use of narcotic substances in Portoviejo, Ecuador. The study found that social workers use a variety of interventions and methods in their work with users of substances in recovery, which include evaluating the process as needed, providing advice, organizing and implementing various techniques that empower their clients, and applying their role as social educator and facilitator.


  • Interested in learning more about social work, social workers, and how to find a social worker in your area? NARIC’s FAQ on the role of social workers provides a definition of social work and social workers and provides resources to help you find a social worker in your area. This FAQ is also available in English.


Further Research:




About Answered Questions

Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. Except for the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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