February 26, 2011
Department of Social Work, Amritapuri
Hima Jacob Fernandez, second-year student of Master of Social Work (MSW) at the Amritapuri campus, recently received a best paper award at a national conference.
The conference conducted by the Amala Institute of Medical Sciences, Thrissur on 17th February, 2011 explored the theme, Medical Social Work.
Hima’s paper titled Medical Social Worker as a Member of a Multi-Disciplinary Team at the conference was co-authored by second-year student Sooraj P.S. and faculty member Renjith R. Pillai.
The paper made the following points.
As a profession, medical social work is today becoming an integral part of the bio-psycho-social approach in health care.
In the bio-psycho-social system of treatment, a multidisciplinary health care team composed of physicians, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers, psychologists and nutritionists collaboratively diagnose, assess illnesses and provide treatment, drawing on their respective areas of expertise.
This concept originated about two decades ago as a response to the prevailing biomedical model of treating disease, which did not give enough importance to the social, psychological and behavioral dimensions of illnesses.
“The care of patients with complex and interactive health issues is best achieved together with social and functional needs, when the knowledge and skills of various health disciplines can be shared and integrated,” Hima stated.
“Tremendous stress due to decreased personal control, change in functional ability, information overload and reduced financial resources, stems from sudden hospitalizations due to the catastrophic nature of illness or injury.”
“Medical social workers can play a crucial role by helping patients and families address such impacts on individuals and family members.”
“Within a multidisciplinary team, a medical social worker can provide individual, group and family interventions, crisis intervention, patient/family education, resource mobilization, advocacy and referral services both in out-patient, in-patient and community settings.”
Faculty member, Renjith Pillai, added that there was a need for a more exploratory, descriptive and longitudinal study in the field.
As an invited resource person, he also spoke, elaborating on Research Areas in Medical Social Work.