Social Work Week Celebrated at both Hospitals

Social Work Matters

Social Workers at both King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) will join a worldwide campaign next week highlighting their profession. This year’s theme “Social Work Matters” seeks to showcase the impact social workers have in Bermuda. Lobby displays and information booths will be set up at both hospitals and members of the public are invited to stop by on Monday, 26 March from 10:00am to 2:00pm to learn about services provided by these healthcare professionals.

Social workers at the hospitals help people transform their lives and improve environments that make such progress possible. They work with individuals, families, and groups to enhance well-being and connect patients, clients and service users with resources within the hospitals and in the community.

Colleen English DeGrilla, Clinical Supervisor for Social Workers at KEMH, said, “Social Workers weave together the threads of our community’s social safety net. What we do and how we do it does matter to our Island’s success. 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.”

Sharon Lacey, Professional Practice Leader for Social Workers at MWI, said, “Diversity is perhaps our greatest strength as a profession. While we all are equipped with a specific skill set that includes the person-in-environment perspective, critical thinking, and ethical decision-making, we each utilize this skill set as it applies to our field of practice. We 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.”

Sita Ingram, BHB Director for Allied Health Services and Social Workers at KEHM, said, “The practice of social work requires knowledge of human development and behavior, of social, economic and cultural institutions, and of the interaction of all these factors. Social workers help people overcome difficult challenges: poverty, discrimination, abuse, addiction, physical illness, divorce, loss, unemployment, educational problems, disability and mental illness. They help prevent crises and counsel individuals, families, and communities to cope more effectively with the stresses of everyday life. 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 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.

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 2011, Social Workers assisted approximately 520 patients transfer overseas for care. They also helped approximately 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 7,800 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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