Medical Social Work

Social workers are tasked with the responsibility of improving people’s overall wellbeing, especially the most vulnerable populations. Medical social workers provide frontline services to patients and their families to help alleviate the social, financial, and psychological challenges related to adverse health conditions. Medical social workers also provide essential services aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles, preventing diseases, and addressing barriers to access.

At Ingutsheni, medical social workers often collaborate with other medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, administrative staff and occupational therapists as part of an interdisciplinary team and together complete a variety of tasks when working with clients. This includes, but not limited to psychosocial and risk assessments, individualized and group psychotherapy, crisis intervention and support, care coordination, and discharge planning services.

The daily challenges and responsibilities of being a medical social worker vary depending on the healthcare setting, which includes hospitals, nursing homes, assisted care facilities, and residential treatment centers. At Ingutsheni hospital, some of the primary work activities of a medical social worker include:

Patient Counseling and Education

Medical social workers at Ingutsheni hospital provide counseling services to both patients and family members in a bid to help patients and their families cope with the emotional and social responses to illness and treatment. They also educate patients and their families on entitlements, management of their estates and how to access community resources. They also lead support group discussions and provide individual counseling.

Discharge Planning

At Ingutsheni, before a patient is discharged, the medical social worker handling the case will trace relatives of patients so as to involve them in the treatment and discharge plan of the patient. The social worker will then ensure that the services the patient requires are in place and that the patient will be well cared for at home. This usually involves arranging for resources to pay for medications, linking patients with social service providers, and doing home visits, coordinating home care services

Patient Advocacy

A medical social worker at Ingutsheni hospital is first and foremost a patient advocate. It’s the responsibility of the social worker to ensure that a patient’s requirements or wishes are clearly understood and followed. The social workers can directly advocate on behalf of the patient by facilitating communication with healthcare providers or arranging healthcare coverage, but they also advocate for patients’ rights in general.

Medical social workers at Ingutsheni hospital excel in a field that offers unique opportunities. They often make follow ups and ensure continued assistance to all discharged patients thus making a profound difference in the lives of patients and families, who would otherwise be unable to find the help and support they need.