Day to honour social workers

TOGETHER: South West Healthcare social work and counselling team (back L-R) Katie Webster, James McInnes, Helen Chapman, Mel Walker, (front L-R) Jen Duong, Jayne Hatherall and Kate Smith. Picture: Amy Paton

TOGETHER: South West Healthcare social work and counselling team (back L-R) Katie Webster, James McInnes, Helen Chapman, Mel Walker, (front L-R) Jen Duong, Jayne Hatherall and Kate Smith. Picture: Amy Paton

THE efforts of a team of dedicated South West Healthcare (SWH) workers is set to be celebrated.

Tuesday is World Social Work Day, marking the contributions of social workers on a global scale.

The social work and counselling team at SWH will gather at Lady Bay Resort for a breakfast on Tuesday morning.

They will then head back to work where they will set up information stalls in both the community health and hospital foyers.

These stalls will provide information about the services the team offers and the role they play.

The team includes 12 social workers, an aged care liaison officer and an aboriginal liaison officer. 

Senior social worker Jayne Hatherall said the team dedicated its skills to both hospital inpatients and those in the general community.

“With the inpatients we cover all areas of the hospital,” Ms Hatherall said.

“In the emergency department we deal a lot with trauma. There are a lot of reasons people need help, whether they be in special care, ICU or the general medical ward. 

“We are all only one life chance away from being engaged in the health system.

“There is no one type of person that finds themselves in hospital, it could be any one of us.” 

Ms Hatherall said social workers also work closely with family and friends of inpatients.

“Very rarely is a stay in hospital planned,” Ms Hatherall said.

“Systems collide for people, it can disrupt things like employment, school, a lot of things.

“We also deal with a lot of grief and helping people deal with a bad diagnosis.” 

The social work and counselling team have a number of programs in place which they deliver in the community.

Among these is a farmer’s wellbeing program. This program has social workers venturing out to the farmgate to talk to farmers and their families.

The team also works alongside other health professionals to deliver community home support programs. 

Ms Hatherall said the team provided emotional support as part of this program.

Two members of the team have the task of providing social work and counselling services to SWH staff.

“In an organisation made up of humans, we all have challenges to deal with along the way,” Ms Hatherall said.

“So it is important to have a sounding board.”

Health professionals can refer patients to the social work services.

But this is not essential, with members of the community able to make an appointment themselves by presenting to the SWH community health reception area.