We have two graduates who are registered social workers and who work fulltime. A common saying is that a social worker is a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’. However, our social workers have the skills and experience to ‘connect all the dots’ enabling families to stay intact. Thus children and parents are better able to cope with chronic medical conditions. This is why we call our Social Workers ‘Ambassadors of Hope’.
On a typical day a social worker will touch upon the following:
- Screening of all admissions, re-admissions and co-ordination of discharges together with the matron as well as the handling of general enquiries about patient admissions.
- Orientation of new patients and their parents regarding the functioning of St Joseph’s Home and the school, as well as obtaining parental or guardian consent for participation in events organised by the school or ourselves.
- Maintaining contact with the family during the patient’s stay by telephone, and on weekend and holiday visits if possible.
- Compiling and managing a treatment plan for each child.
- Networking with resources in the community plays an important role when a patient is ready for discharge.
- Assisting with the task of identifying alternative placement if a patient cannot return home or is orphaned during his or her stay here.
- Intervening on an individual basis to address problems such as behaviour, adjustment, life skills, school adjustment and depression.
- Utilizing play therapy and group work, and referring specific patients to the Child and Family Units at Acute Hospitals depending on the intensity of any particular problem.
- Acting as the main link between child, and parent and providing counselling to HIV infected parents.
- Parent accommodation is part of the parental orientation and is organised together with the deputy matron. Parents are informed of the availability of parent housing during critical phases of the child’s treatment.
- Identifying the need for resources such as wheelchairs, and external support organisations necessary to provide holistic support to the family.
- Organizing food parcels for weekend and holiday visits by the family.
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