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Social Work: Evidence-Based Practice


What is Evidence-Based Practice (EBP)?

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) combines the "clinical state and circumstances of the client, the best available relevant research evidence, the client's own values and preferences," and the expertise of the social worker (Haynes et al., 2002; as cited in Drisko, 2014, p. 124).

Drisko, J. (2014). Research evidence and social work practice: The place of evidence-based practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 42(2), 123-133.
          doi:10.1007/s10615-013-0459-9

 

Effective EBP involves six different steps that address the components discussed above (Drisko, 2014, p. 125):

  1. Identify answerable EBP research questions and information needs
    • You can use the 'Social Work Approach' to develop your EBP research questions
  2. Efficiently locate research results
  3. Critically appraise the quality and applicability of the research to the client's needs/situation
  4. Discuss the research results with the client and supervisor to determine how options fit with the client's values and goals
  5. Synthesize the client's needs and circumstances with the relevant research and develop a shared plan of intervention with the client
  6. Implement the intervention

Drisko, J. (2014). Research evidence and social work practice: The place of evidence-based practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 42(2), 123-133.
          doi:10.1007/s10615-013-0459-9

The Social Work Approach can be used by social workers to develop answerable EBP research questions and guide the search for EBP research.

When using the Social Work Approach, focus on the:

  • Client system
  • Description of problem
  • Problem-based need
  • Client strengths in relation to problem and need

For example:

  • Client system
    • Two, aged and long-term residents at a local nursing home facility who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Description of problem
    • These two clients have recently experienced more mental disorientation, which has led to falls, wandering, dizziness, and impulsive behaviors. When these situations occur, social workers have reported that it can be difficult to keep these two clients safe, calm, and in control of their mobility and emotions.
  • Problem-based need
    • Restraints are often used as an option to prevent injury to clients with Alzheimer’s who experience these outcomes. However, they can lead to detrimental outcomes such as further loss of balance, obstruction in circulation, and client discomfort and agitation. Clients need activities or interventions to prevent wandering and falls.
  • Client strengths in relation to problem and need
    • Client one enjoys doing creative tasks and is most at ease when coloring and listening to jazz music. Client two enjoys being active and takes a daily walk with other residents and staff members.

EBP Research Question:

  • What non-restraint options have been shown to be successful with Alzheimer's clients to prevent wandering and falls, but that also encourage activity and enjoyment?

Once you've created your EBP Research Question you can start searching for EBP research.


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Picture of Jylisa Doney, NDSU Social Sciences Librarian

 

  Jylisa Doney, Social Sciences Librarian

  Email: jylisa.doney@ndsu.edu
  Phone: 701-231-8817
  Office: Main Library 218C

Last updated: 1/6/2017