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Case Study Tools
  • Explore the town
  • Interaction Matrix
  • Mapping The Case
  • Ecomap
  • Perspective
  • My Values
  • Notebook

Critical Thinking Questions

Answer these questions about Carla.

Answer Carla's questions below.

In this case, Carla is your only identified client and, therefore, the only person for which there are critical thinking questions. To complete your assessment, review the case files in the Engage section; the Ecomap, the Town, and the Interaction Matrix in Case Study Tools; and your notes in My Notebook. Then answer the questions below.

  • The case file material on collateral contacts suggests that there might be a wealth of informal resources, or what might also be called natural helping networks. Social workers place a great deal of value on such resources, even moreso than formal resources. Why is this an important focus in practice?

  • One way to think about informal resources is as systems of mutual interdependence. In other words, everyone has strengths, talents, and abilities that can contribute to the well being of other individuals and the community. The trick is to match those systems up. For example, do Carla Washburn and Reverend Smith have such resources that they could exchange, to the benefit of both? Are there other mutually interdependent relationships that you see in this case?

  • Could Ms. Washburn’s fall be related to her Diabetes? How would you go about finding out?

  • Ms. Washburn is enrolled in the Medicare prescription drug program. Generally, how does this program work? Why would drug costs be a concern to Ms. Washburn if she receives this benefit?

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Explore the Town

View locations of relevant formal and informal resources for Carla Washburn.

Carla's Quick Bio

Carla Washburn is a 76-year-old African-American woman who has been widowed for the last fifteen years. She lives alone in Plainville, a small town in the Northwest. Her small home is in a neighborhood that has been steadily deteriorating ever since the paper mill–the city's largest employer–went out of business four years ago. Carla and her husband were both employed at the mill until their respective retirements. Carla receives a small pension and Social Security. Unfortunately, the recent economic downturn has put the mill's pension fund in serious jeopardy.