1.1 BACKGOUND OF THE STUDY
Social work is a professional discipline that aims to improve the well-being of communities, groups, families, and individuals through education and practice. Social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and improve well-being, based on social science theories and guided by principles of social justice, right, collective responsibility, and respect for diversity (Forde and Lynch, 2013). Social work helps people achieve socioeconomic development, social cohesion, and freedom from abuse and oppression by promoting social change and grassroots empowerment. A social worker is a practicing professional with a social work degree. Being a social worker is a demanding job, but it is also a rewarding one. Individuals, families, and groups of people are assisted by social workers to cope with problems they are confronted with in order to improve the lives of their patients. Teaching skills and developing apparatus for patients to rely on to improve their lives and experiences is one aspect of this (Cipolle, 2010). Nonetheless, according to Cowles (2012), direct counseling of patients, families, and groups is only one small part of a larger set of responsibilities for social workers. In order to assist patients and collaborate with other health professionals to ensure patient wellness and recovery, social workers will frequently act as liaisons between different institutions. They will become familiar with community resources and refer clients to them. Social workers assist with legal issues such as hearings and providing testimony about their patients in either a court of law or in situations where the clients require assistance. They also conduct research, develop policies, and advocate for services (Cipolle, 2010). Furthermore, social workers must keep case history records and prepare reports for each case they handle. Social work can be a job that requires a lot of overtime, and separating the emotional aspects of the job from the tasks that must be completed can be difficult.
There are many ideas about what a social worker's role should be; we'll go over the most common ones. They are not presented in terms of historical or chronological continuity, but rather as ideal type Francozo and Cassorla, to aid this brief analysis (2014). They are easily identified in the social work literature. They're also inextricably linked to the value and principle that underpins all social work. Social workers in hospitals must collaborate with other health care professionals and other relevant health care professions, and doctors' and senior nurses' perspectives on social work are important to their relationships with social workers as well as the smooth operation of the hospital (Kearney, and Skehill, 2015).
The presence and easy accessibility of a social worker were also valued, and they preferred regular contact with the same person. The nurses and doctors roles rated the quality of social work practice primarily by the extent to which the social worker was seen to identify unambiguously with the hospital and its ethos: but they also placed great value on the presence and easy accessibility of a social worker, and they preferred regular contact with the same person (Popple, Philip N, 2018). They viewed the social worker as a lay agent working within the health-care system, and they recognized that the social worker's role and connection to the community were critical components of good hospital practice. Medical social work, also known as hospital social work, is a sub-discipline of social work. Hospital social workers typically work in a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or hospice, have a graduate degree in the field, and assist patients and their families who require psychosocial assistance. Hospital social workers assess patients' and families' psychosocial functioning and intervene as needed. Connecting patients and families to community resources and supports; providing psychotherapy, supportive counselling, or grief counselling; or assisting a patient in expanding and strengthening their network of social supports are all examples of interventions. In the hospital, social workers are usually part of an interdisciplinary team with professionals from other fields (such as medicine, nursing, physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapy, etc.)
The job of a social worker in a hospital is to assess patients for any physical, mental, or emotional needs, as well as to assess the patient's family support system and connect the patient with services to assist with care if necessary. Assistance with financial concerns, such as not being able to afford medication or pay household bills, is provided by Baresford, (2015). According to Gould (2006), some social workers provide counseling to patients who are depressed or having difficulty coping. Finally, a social worker connects and refers patients to agencies that can help them with all of these services. Butlerlan and Giverda (2014) in most cases, a social worker can provide a lot of help and support to a patient who is dealing with illness emotionally and financially. Furthermore, knowing that the social worker will assist the patients provides comfort to the healthcare staff because it means that there will be fewer issues with the patient not receiving necessary treatment.
According to Refugee Council (2015) social workers help educate and provide support to patients and their families. Just like nurses, physicians and therapists, social workers are experts in their field. One of the roles of a social worker is helping to be sure the patient knows what servicesare available. This can help increase patient’s safety and increase the possibility that the patient will not return to the hospital. Therefore the need to examine the role of social workers in hospital in Karu L.G.A, Nasarawa state.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The role of hospital social work continues to be misunderstood, despite previous research (Cowles and Lefcowitz, 2014; Davidson, 2012; Donnelly, 2014; Egan and Kadushin, 2016). Other hospital specialties have succeeded in establishing their professional status, but social workers have failed to do so. According to Globerman et al. (2016), social workers are still concerned about other medical staff's lack of awareness of the role of social workers and the potential for boundaries between social work and other disciplines to be crossed. To combat the threats to social work in hospitals, social workers must clearly define the role of social workers, document what they do well, and inform administrators of their value in the hospital setting (Globerman et al., 2016). Social workers spent more time on direct patient activities than on departmental or administrative tasks, according to the findings. Despite the fact that discharge planning was an important task for social workers, the findings revealed that they spent more time on assessment, counselling and liaison. Although this study provided useful information, it lacked a comprehensive examination of the meaning and importance of social work in hospitals in Karu L.G.A., Nasarawa State.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objective of this study is to assess the role of social workers in hospitals. However, the specific objectives are:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0:The role of social Worker does not promote health of patients in the hospital in Karu L.G.A
H1: The role of social Worker significantly promotes health of patients in the hospital in Karu L.G.A
H0: There is no significant relationship between therole of social worker and promotion of patient’s health in hospitals in Karu L.G.A
H1: There is a significant relationship between the role of social worker and promotion of patient’s health in hospitals in Karu L.G.A
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study is to create awareness on the importance of medical social worker towards promotion of psychological well being of individual, families and community. It will also reveal how medical social workers work with other medical practitioners with the aim of finding resolution to patients’ problems, with intention to ameliorate or solve their problems.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
This study will focus on the assessment of the roles of a social worker in hospital in Karu L.G.A, Nasarawa state. The focus will be the patients in Hospitalin Karu L.G.A, Nasarawa state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Medical Social Worker: Provides bio-psycho-social assessments to the patient and family, consults with medical staff, addresses barriers (substance abuse, mental health, grief) in a medical setting (Gregorian, 2015).
Individual and Child Welfare:This is concerned with the social worker getting to know the well being of the patients or family as a whole.
Counselling:This involves social worker listening and attempting to understand the patient and provide answers or solutions to patients’ problems. Counselling is mostly conducted in private and the discussion is confidential. Counselling is concerned with problems solving behaviour modification process.
Child Welfare:This is concerned with the social worker’s finding solution for the well being of the children in the hospital, various humanitarian organization and meaningful individual.
Reconstruct:This is concerned with conversing a patient in ways in which is expected to change his/her behaviour.
Homelessness:If a patient is homeless the medical officer/social worker will liaise with the voluntary/statutory agencies that specialize in working with homeless person in the state, to provide shelter for the patients.
Discharge Planning:This complex process which begins on a person’s admission in hospital, involves assessing, counselling and planning. It may involve issues as:
Networking:Is the practice of liaising with statutory and voluntary services and agencies, to keep patient/families/careers informed of their right and linking them with appropriate support network and group.
Elder Abuse:The practice of helping the elderly people in society (Greene Roberta, 2018), if any individual has any suspicion/concern that any elderly has been abuse or may be at risk of abuse, they should contact the medical social worker immediately.
Chronic illness: An incurable illness that requires medical treatment by a physician over a period of time such as Cancer, AIDS or Diabetes.
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