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Loss of Independence

The patient may lose their ability to independently care for themselves as a result of certain medical diagnoses. Patients may need assistance with daily living tasks, basic care needs, and financial management. The more dependent patients are on others, the more they can question their value in the world and their abilities. 

"I can't even walk to the mail box. " 
"I still have worth." 

Click video to hear more on Loss of Independence in Illness 

Click video to hear more on Reframing of Loss of Independence 

Loss of Independence-Video highlights

Loss of Independence:

  • Can be temporary or permanent.

  • Can be gradual or rapid. 

  • Can happen in nearly all conditions.

  • Can be physical or mental. ​

  • Can negatively impact the patient's sense of value in society. 

Health social workers can: 

  • Assist patients in maintaining or reestablishing autonomy safely. 

  • Assist patients in accepting the new "normal" in their abilities. 

    • ​Example: If a patient can put on certain types of clothing but struggles with fine motor skills- "What type of clothing do you find easy or hard to put on?" These questions can lead to strategies of maintaining independence partly, if not all, by dressing oneself. 

​Reframing Loss of Independence-Video highlights 

  • In the United States, we live in a society that values independence.

  • Patients may question their self-worth when that independence is lost due to a medical illness. 

Health social workers can: 

  • Aid patients in maintaining their self-worth.

  • Help patients by reframing the situation. 

  • Create interventions that encourage independence. 

    • Example: Picking your clothes​, ordering groceries online.

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