Illness and disability are often accompanied by psychological and social problems. When these problems arise, hospitalization is difficult and they impede the patient's recovery and rehabilitation. The role of the Medical Social Officer in a hospital is to offer counselling, support and assistance to patients and their families who may be experiencing psychological, social or emotional difficulties during their hospital stay.
Medical Social Services Department of Selayang Hospital has been serving its patients, the hospital and community since the 1998. Our department attends to patients and their families who have difficulties coping with their emotional, psychological, social and care problems arising from ill health to enable them to cope more effectively with their illness or challenging life circumstances. Medical Social Officers are part of the hospital’s multidisciplinary team working closely with the doctor, nurses, allied health professionals and community resources to provide holistic care for the patients.
Our medical social officers provide counseling and support to patients and their family members to help them to cope with life changes arising from their medical condition. At the same time, psycho-social assessment and practical assistance are provided to help them cope with the often demanding medical treatment.
Patients who experience changes in their physical abilities due to illnesses, may have great anxieties about going home and what it means to their future and their family members. Our medical social officers play an important role in addressing these issues, helping to mobilize resources and proposing community resources including step-down care facilities that may best meet their needs.
Patients who are admitted due to distress and conflicts in their personal life will also receive crisis intervention . These include patients who experience family violence, sexual assault, suicide attempts, abuse and neglect, amongst others.
We also provides counseling support for patients and their families who are facing challenges times such as newly diagnosed serious illness, coping with chronic illness, traumatic injuries and bereavement e.g. for patients suffering from breast cancer, permanent disability, loss and interpersonal relationship problems.
We also provide counseling to help patient’s caregivers, siblings and other family members cope more effectively with life changes associated with hospitalization and/or a medical condition . Our services include help patients and caregivers understand the patient’s illness and treatment plan.
We assist patients in making a smooth transition from the hospital back to the community that results in the continuity of care and efficient use of hospital and community resources. This can include referrals to community hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, shelter homes, day care centers, senior activity centers, home-help and befriending services. Our services also provides information and referral services on loan and purchase of medical equipment and appliances, to enable patients in their continuing care at home.
Medical costs and treatment affordability are common concerns among many patients. We link needy, eligible patients with external resources to meet their treatment costs and financial and practical needs arising from their illnesses such as Medical Assistant Fund by Ministry of Health, National Cancer Council (MAKNA), Yayasan Kebajikan Negara Malaysia, Baitulmal, Lembaga Zakat and etc. We also refer patients to Welfare Department to get monthly financial assistant if they loss their job due to illnesses.
Medical Social Officers provide risk assessment, safety planning and emotional support for victims of family violence, including domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, physical assaults, and rape or other sexual assaults. Our Medical Social Officers also care for victims of sexual assault-empowering them through empathy and supportive services—with the aim of transforming sexual assault victims to sexual assault survivor.
As part of post-discharge care services, we conduct home visits to establish patients’ coping capacity in their home environment, linking them with other community resources where necessary. Home visits also allow us to gain a better understanding of patients’ family dynamics and financial situation, hence facilitating us in our case assessment and intervention.
Dealing with the onset of a chronic illness is never an easy experience for patients and their families. As part of increasing their coping capacity, Medical Social Officers facilitate support groups, where patients can share their concerns in a supportive environment. Some of these groups include the Amputee and Diabetes Support Groups.
To enhance patients' experience during hospitalization at Selayang Hospital, the Department runs the Volunteer Programme, where friendly volunteers help to brighten the lives of the patients through various activities.
Besides providing direct assistance to patients and their families, our medical social officers team helps patients by mobilizing resources in the community to create new services or improving existing services to make them more relevant and responsive to patients' needs. We also doing Networking-liaising with statutory and voluntary services and agencies to keep patients/families/carers informed of their rights and linking them with appropriate support networks and groups.
Anjung Kasih, or free boarding facility for poor families of patients who come from afar are provided in Selayang Hospital and managed by Medical Social Officers. This facility is important because if a person is admitted to hospital and his condition is serious, surely his family members will want to be near him. Hospital Selayang also is a national referral centre and receives patients from all over the country seeking specialist treatment not available at other hospitals. Anjung Kasih, established by the National Welfare Foundation have managed to assist 940 family members of poor patients with free boarding since their establishment in 2006.