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Herman Case Paper

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SOWK 2100 Week 4 Herman Case

Rachel D. Eichmann

Northwestern State University


This paper will discuss the Herman case, and the errors that were conducted with the case, which is located in chapter one of the social work textbook used for this course. It will go into detail about each of the roles of the persons involved in the case, such as the client; case worker; volunteer; and center director, as well as if those persons violated or crossed professional boundaries, ethics, and guidelines. Actions that are believed to should have taken place are discussed in this paper, with reference to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) code of ethics. Morals, ethics, rights, guidelines, and safety will be taken into account throughout this paper and discussed in detail. The difference between supervision and consultation will be observed and discussed. A full analysis has been taken of the case, as well as of the NASW. Personal beliefs will be discussed, but will not be the determining factor of the conclusion.

Keywords:  National Association of Social Workers, supervision, consultation

SOWK 2100 Week 4 Herman Case

Social workers have several responsibilities. They have to provide service, justice, and dignity to a client. They have to possess integrity, competence, and patience. Social workers need to possess knowledge of human rights, and how to perform scientific inquiry. Social workers occasionally have cases in which problems ensue and a solution is not found within a certain time frame. Social workers must be able to act on an issue quickly and effectively. Situations can vary depending on the case, the client, and the persons involved in the case.

Herman was an elderly World War II veteran. He resided in a poor neighborhood, surrounded by different dangers: attempted break-ins, armed attempted break-ins, and other suspicious activity. There was proof of dangerous activity with what appeared to be bullet holes in his door. Due to his feeling of unsafety, Herman acted on his Second Amendment and kept a gun next to him. Although his neighbors kept an eye on the house, Herman hardly received visits. He was unable to afford much, and was unable to leave his home to obtain food.

A social worker was contacted to perform an intake assessment. This assessment would determine the eligibility of Herman having meals delivered to his residence. The meals were authorized, and a volunteer from a senior center delivered the meals daily. The delivery aide and Herman developed a friendly relationship, and Herman tended to look forward to the daily visits. The service was in effect for several months, and all seemed to be going well. Then, attention was brought to the fact that Herman kept his gun near him.

The casual comment from the aide to the senior center director created a shift in Herman’s case. The aide did not say she felt threatened or endangered in any way. The director, however, prohibited further contact between Herman and the aide unless he got rid of his gun. The reaction to the news was due to liability and safety guidelines presumably put in place by the senior center. If the aide were to get injured while in Herman’s presence with the gun, the senior center would be liable of the aide’s unsafety. Though the aide protested against being prohibited, the director refused to go against their protocol. The social worker was contacted to intervene.

After a failed attempt to alter the director’s mind, the case manager spoke with Herman. He refused to give up his gun, and refused to hide it. Herman maintained the fact that it was his lawful right to have the gun. The case worker sent appeals to the local Area Agency on Aging, but was denied due to liability. After attempting to transport Herman to the senior center for meals for a couple months, he committed suicide in his home.

Personally, Herman’s death could have been prevented. Elderly clients that are isolated from people and society, with poor health, are more at risk of developing depression. Herman also being a war veteran could mean that he possibly had Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Herman’s suicide could have possibly been prevented by consultation with psychological specialists or therapists. His loneliness was positively affected when the volunteer came to visit him. He had a person to talk to and spend time with. When the volunteer was no longer able to see him, Herman became isolated again. The case worker could have called for a psychological evaluation and/or therapy sessions to help with Herman’s social isolation and possible depression.



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