Social Work for Older People

Social Work brings a range of specialised skills and methods of intervention in effecting change and problem resolution. A Social Worker is attached to each locality who deals with referrals for a whole range of complex work.

The following list gives some of the work which can be undertaken by a Social Worker:

  • Clients applying for a Residential/Nursing Home placement- should be offered a Scial Work Assessment however an assessment may not be necessary in all cases
  • Where a Social Work Assessment has been requested- the case is transferred to the Care Manager on completion of the Social Work Assessment and intervention if there are no outstanding social work issues.
    The Social Worker can be the person best trained to engage in therapeutic work with clients who are coming to terms with significant life change, dealing with a loss and grief. It is recognised that not all clients will require this level of intervention
  • Assessment for Intensive Domiciliary Care Package - new clients who are not known to an Assistant Care Manager, but who are applying for a domiciliary care package should be offered a Social Work Assessment . Where a Social Work Assessment has been requested, the case is transferred to the Care Manager on completion of the assessment and intervention if there are no outstanding social work issues
  • Social Work Support to Carers – a referral can made to a Social Worker to undertake a carers assessment where it has been identified that there are complex emotional, financial issues or difficulties within family relationships which could result in the carer not being able to continue in their caring role if these are left unresolved. In such situations the Social Worker is best placed to undertake therapeutic intervention
  • The Social Worker can provide education and support regarding the carers own stress management, coping strategies, tools to recognise risk of burn out, adjustment to new role, loss of marriage or familial relationship
  • Safeguarding Adults- the Social Worker may undertake the role of Investigating Officer and provide support to the client and family. The Social Worker may undertake other identified social work tasks i.e. protection planning, and counselling following the disclosure of abuse. Where the Social Worker is not the Investigating Officer, it may be necessary in serious abuse cases for a social work referral to provide a supportive therapeutic role to the victim

           For more information on Safeguarding Adults, please click here

Social Work Support

Social Work support may be offered in the following complex situations:

  • Family Conflict- which may have arisen from domestic violence, alcohol or substance abuse or where there is a history of the family being dysfunctional. It is recognised that there are a number of clients who require support other than practical services at times of crisis
  • The Social Workers would be invaluable in providing an advisory/consultation role to other professionals for example Assistant Care Managers, Care Managers and District Nursing so that clients can be referred to other agencies such as Domestic Violence Unit PSNI, Women’s Aid, Housing Executive and Community Addictions Team
  • Palliative Care- while the key worker may be the District Nurse, it is important that a social work referral is made as early as possible to enable appropriate advice and support to be offered and to assist the client and carer to address non medical or nursing issues which may be affecting their lives
  • Mental Health & Dementia- Social work support may be offered to those clients and their carers awaiting a Psychiatric Assessment regarding possible diagnosis of Dementia and following diagnosis until the situation is stable and case can be closed or referral to specialist worker is necessary
  • Significant Life Changes i.e. change in health, loss of independence. Loss of spouse/close family member, grief, adjusting to same – living alone for the first time, increased responsibilities within the home where it may not be appropriate to refer to another agency
  • Risk Situation – assessment and management of risk. Individual care plan, based on need
  • Counselling and Emotional Support
  • Family and Carer Support
  • Protection from Abuse
  • Onward referral for other needs
  • Advocacy

Social Work Assistance

The Social Worker can assist you to:

  • Help you to live as independently as possible
  • Give you information and help you to make decisions about your future care particularly if you need to consider sheltered housing, residential or nursing home care
  •  Represent you in situations where you feel unable to do so yourself

For more information please view the Older People's Social Work Leaflet




Frail older people and people with a mental illness aged over 65 or under 65 where there is a diagnosis of Dementia. This can be made in person, by phone or via another health or social care professionals.

Contact Details

North Down Locality:
Bangor Administration Offices Newtownards Road
BT20 4LB

Telephone: (028) 9146 8521

Newtownards & Ards Peninsula Area:
Ards Hospital
Church Street
BT23 4AS

Telephone: (028) 9181 2661

Lisburn, Hillsborough and Dunmurry:
Lisburn Health Centre
Linenhall Street
BT28 1LU

Telephone: (028) 9266 5181

Downpatrick, Newcastle and Ballynahinch:
Community Services
1st Floor
Downe Hospital
Struell Wells Road
BT30 6RL

Telephone: (028) 4461 3811