Biopsychosocial Assessment: Case Study

For this assignment, I selected the Medical Social Work Assessment tool. Matrix Home Care (n.d.) offers this instrument to perform a biopsychosocial assessment of a client. This tool consists of a few sections focusing on the client’s “personal, psychosocial, and family functioning and financial information” (Matrix Home Care, n.d., p. 1). At first glance, the given instrument seems appropriate and effective because it covers many areas that can affect a person and their functioning. However, a close analysis reveals that some essential questions were not addressed. For example, the tool fails to consider a neuropsychological aspect of the assessment. This area is significant because it reveals a person’s cognitive functioning, visuospatial functions, emotional coping strategies, and many others (Boeka et al., 2011). Furthermore, the tool does not focus on the patient’s spiritual development. Consequently, this information denotes that the selected instrument is a decent option to start, but a more comprehensive assessment can be performed if additional questions are considered.

One cannot say that the assessment tool is entirely strength-based. On the one hand, the instrument focuses on the person’s behavior indicators and psychosocial functioning (Matrix Home Care, n.d.). This section can reveal what resources and strengths the patient has to cope with various life challenges. On the other hand, the instrument aims to find factors that impede “patients ability to achieve maximal health potential” (Matrix Home Care, n.d.). In particular, the tool focuses on specific reasons that explain a patient’s decreased probabilities in numerous life spheres, including safety, income, housing, transportation, and others. This information demonstrates that the selected instrument focuses on finding individual weaknesses. Although some attention is devoted to uncovering patients’ strengths, the chosen tool is more focused on revealing adverse issues. However, one should admit that this strategy helps find the most significant problems and understand what issues should be impacted.

Even though social workers typically bear primary responsibility for assessing patients, a few other healthcare professionals can also be suitable. Firstly, Bomba et al. (2011) stipulate that a social worker can solicit the support of a psychologist. The latter service provider is significant because they can offer a professional overview of the patient’s mental conditions and any existing problems. Secondly, registered nurses can also provide substantial information. The rationale behind this suggestion is that nurses establish close contact with patients cooperating with them on a daily basis. Consequently, registered nurses can offer valuable information about patients’ compliance with treatment, safety procedures, communication ability, and others. Thus, one can conclude that joint efforts of the social worker, psychologist, and registered nurse can result in the fact that the patient assessment is comprehensive and reveals valuable and trustworthy data.

It is impossible to mention that there exist entire sections of the assessment tool that are best completed by other health professionals. The rationale behind this suggestion is that the sections cover large amounts of information, and social workers should contribute to each of them to provide comprehensive assessment results. However, it is challenging to deny that other healthcare providers should deal with some individual items. For example, registered nurses can complete information about the patient’s adherence to treatment and physical functioning. Simultaneously, psychologists’ contribution seems required when it is necessary to assess cognitive abilities and comment on the diagnosis that is appropriate for the patient. Nevertheless, it should be added that a social worker is responsible for performing a comprehensive investigation of a person’s conditions and producing assessment results.

When many professionals are involved in working with the same client, they can disagree about assessment content. Such issues are inevitable because each healthcare provider specializes in their area, which denotes that they use specialized tools to uncover specific data in these fields. However, when a comprehensive assessment is under consideration, the task is to draw sufficient attention to many areas without emphasizing any of them. For example, the limitations of a biomedical model can be a suitable example. This approach is considered dominant today, and it focuses on the biological causes of disease (Engel, 2012). According to this model, physicians highlight the role of laboratory tests, ignoring the impact of other phenomena. However, social workers understand that attention should also be devoted to psychosocial factors (Engel, 2012). Thus, if any disagreement emerges, I would highlight the necessity to conduct a comprehensive assessment focusing on many areas of the patient’s functioning.

Policy and legal issues can significantly impact patient health outcomes. For example, official medical bodies can rely on research to define effective treatment protocols to address specific health conditions. Consequently, a policy implication emerges stipulating the best standard of care that patients should receive, which will inevitably lead to improved health outcomes. When an interdisciplinary team is involved in providing care to a patient, a social worker is responsible for addressing any issues and ensuring that the best service is given to a person. This statement is justified because essential skills for social workers are “assessment, treatment planning and interventions, including family counseling and conflict resolution, advocacy for patient and family needs, and interdisciplinary teamwork” (Bomba et al., 2011, p. 74). Consequently, the social worker can ensure that the patient receives adequate service.


Boeka, A. G., Solomon, A. C., Lokken, K., McGuire, B. M., & Bynon, J. S. (2011). A biopsychosocial approach to liver transplant evaluation in two patients with Wilson’s disease. Psychology, Health, & Medicine, 16(3), 268-275. Web.

Bomba, P. A., Morrissey, M. B., & Leven, D. C. (2011). Key role of social work in effective communication and conflict resolution process: Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) program in New York and shared medical decision making at the end of life. Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care, 7(1), 56-82. Web.

Engel, G. L. (2012). The need for a new medical model: A challenge for biomedicine. Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 40(3), 377-396.

Matrix Home Care. (n.d.). Medical social work assessment [PDF document]. Web.

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