Social Work Month Celebrated at Both Hospitals

Social Workers Change Futures

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) joins a global campaign marking Social Work Month with lobby displays and information booths this week at both King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI). Members of the public are invited to stop by the lobby at both hospitals on Tuesday, 22 March from 10:00am to 2:00pm to learn about services provided by social workers.

The theme of this year’s campaign, Social Workers Change Futures, promotes the role of social workers as positive change agents. Professional social workers in Bermuda are dedicated to either helping people transform their lives or improving environments that make such progress possible.

Sharon Lacey, Clinical Advisor for Social Workers at MWI, said: “The Social Work profession was established to help people reach their full potential by providing them with the tools and support they need to overcome challenges such as financial hardship, illness, addiction, abuse or discrimination. We champion access, equality and fairness by being advocates for people who need help addressing serious life challenges and exploring their options.”

Colleen English DeGrilla, Clinical Supervisor for Medical Social Workers at KEMH, said, “Social Workers change systems and customs that limit the ability of vulnerable individuals to lead fulfilling and productive lives. We assist with personal, family or social problems that might contribute to illness or complicate recovery. We provide psychosocial support to patients and their family members so they can cope with chronic, acute or terminal illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer or AIDS. We also counsel patients, advise their family members and help plan for patients’ needs after discharge from hospital.”

Sita Ingram, BHB Director for Allied Health Services and Medical Social Workers at KEHM, said, “Social Work is an extremely diverse profession with the capacity to affect positive change across ethical, social, medical, cultural, intellectual and even financial barriers. I encourage our local students who have an interest in the human service professions to explore Social Work as a possible career option.”

There are five Clinical Social Workers at MWI working with over 800 service users and their families. In addition, they participate in legislative processes and help communities provide or improve social and health services. They also offer service users and their family members counseling services and psychotherapy.

Medical Social Workers at KEMH evaluate patient needs, help resolve crises and advocate for better services. They provide referrals to community resources, arrange discharge planning to a patient´s home or care facility and coordinate patient rehabilitation. They also arrange for at-home services, such as meals-on-wheels or home care.

In 2010, Medical Social Workers assisted over 600 patients transfer overseas for care. They also helped 300 Bermudians returning to the Island from an overseas facility and referred them to community services, making the transition home more seamless and decreasing wait times. Over 7,500 patients at KEMH were helped last year by a team of seven Social Workers who provided 24-hour a day service.

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