Social work starts in hospitals for patients’ benefit

Medical social work is encouraged in hospitals to ease patients’ spirit and doctors and nurses’ pressure contributing to improve treatment.
Social workers visit a kid patient to encourage her to overcome the illness (Photo: SGGP)
Social workers visit a kid patient to encourage her to overcome the illness (Photo: SGGP)

Lately, 20 year old young man Nguyen Duc B. From Hanoi had been rushed to the Medicine University Hospital when he can not talk and walk. The young man comes from disadvantaged family yet his treatment charge cost a lot.

The hospital social work immediately contacted with leading psychiatrist; provided free nursing care; and sent him encouragement during treatment. Moreover, the social work ward found benefactors to help him medical charges. Therefore, his condition is better after three month treatment.

Head of the Social Work Ward in the Children Hospital No.1 Dr. Dinh Thac said that the ward was set up to give spiritual assistance to many children from low-income families are treated in the hospital.

As many central hospitals in big cities are suffering from a serious patient overload, medical workers have little time for responding to patients’ concern or giving instruction of treatment procedure, spiritual care; accordingly patients are unable to get access to medical services and feel unsatisfactory to medical workers’ behaviors making harm to treatment quality.

Medical social workers, however, are there to help patients navigate the world of healthcare. These social workers can help individuals do everything from find medical care to help pay for medical care to recover from an illness or injury. This might include offering advice, acting as a patient advocate, or referring a patient to facilities or programs. Realizing its important role, medical social work teams had been set up in infirmaries to be bridge between patients and doctors.

However, social workers are facing difficulties. Dr. Nguyen My Linh who is in charge of Social Work Ward in Nguyen Tri Phuong Hospital said that most of members of the ward are not well trained and they are mostly medical workers from all wards in the hospital.

Additionally, hospital managers are neglected social work; therefore, there has been not enough investment in the ward.

Dr. Nguyen Hong Son from the Ministry of Health said that social workers in hospitals need to be trained. A medical worker trained with knowledge of social work will give patients satisfaction and ease patients’ psychology relating to their illnesses.

The Ministry put forward a plan that by 2020, most of clinics nationwide have to have social work ward. According to Dr. Nguyen Hong Son, in 2010 only ten infirmaries in the country have established social work wards ; till now, more than 80 percent of infirmaries have the ward and social workers performed their duty well in providing assistance to patients and their relatives.

With the orientation by 2020 most of infirmaries nationwide must have social work wards, the Ministry asked all hospitals to include the duty in assessing their staffs’ behaviors.