St Joseph’s social work services consist of three Social Workers and two Social Auxiliary Worker who provide the complex services which enable children and their parents/caregivers to cope better with chronic medical conditions and help the families to stay intact. This team has the skills and experience to provide valuable and varied support to patients and their families at critical times in their treatment – they may even be called ambassadors of hope.
Social workers maintain contact with families of patients throughout their stay at St Joseph’s to facilitate caregiver and parental involvement in the child’s recovery process as much as possible. If necessary, Social Workers may arrange food parcels for families during home visits. Social workers may provide counselling to HIV-infected parents. Parents are informed that accommodation is available to them during critical phases of their child’s treatment and they are helped to access this when necessary. Support to families is provided on a holistic basis. They also provide counselling on an individual basis to address the patient’s behaviour, ease home and school transitions, develop life skills and identify any signs of depression. Play therapy and group work may be used and patients may be referred to the Child and Family Units of the Acute Hospitals if the intensity of a problem makes it necessary.