World Social Work Day

This year the theme for World Social Work Day is: Ubuntu: I am Because We are – Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness.

St John of God Murdoch Hospital’s social work team reflect on the theme and their role in providing holistic care in the changing hospital environment.

16 Mar 2021

St John of God Murdoch Hospital’s social work team reflect on their role in providing holistic care in the changing hospital environment on World Social Work Day (16 March)

“The term interconnectedness of all people and their environments” relates to our social work practice as a whole. 

“As social workers in a hospital we are often assigned a ward and we can compare the hospital to many small villages that are connected across the hospital through all caregivers and consumers. 

“We work from a strengths perspective to connect with the patient’s emotional strengths and provide functional support  for a positive outcome with thoughtful discharge planning.

“Social Work can assist patients, families and carers with the emotional and practical impacts of illness, injury and hospitalisation. 

“We are available to work through these issues, listen, assess, understand and support planning while exploring options to empower and improve the journey to wellness and recovery.”

Like other health-based professions, COVID-19 has changed how the social work team functions but they have also found themselves mitigating the outcomes of physical distancing precautions.  

“I have noticed that people are more anxious, unsure about their lives, feeling disempowered and disconnected from family and support systems that have always been accessible, but are now challenged due to restrictions, lockdown and infection control precautions.

“It is important to have empathy for these stressors to the patient and also to their family who may feel they have lost input into their loved ones treatment plans.”

The team acknowledge that often people are surprised to learn how broad the role of a social worker is but they find satisfaction in ensuring the best outcomes for their patients. 

“We work to create clear pathways for discharge and overcome the roadblocks to assist in the best possible discharge plan for the patient and their family.” 

“There is a broad spectrum of intervention and enablement we provide in our assessment, particularly with counselling and risk identification with mental health and wellbeing.

“Overall it is a rewarding profession as we empower patients to realise their potential, strengths and abilities. We work with them to overcome any fears or anxiety and ensure they connect to their community to sustain and support their circumstances.”

World Social Work day is celebrated annually on 16 March to recognise the contribution of social workers in our communities.