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Social service referrals in a general hospital : an evaluative survey of 23 out-patient clinics of the Vancouver General Hospital, 1960 Stilborn, Edwin John

Abstract

The purpose of the present study has been to examine the referral system used by the doctors and others in making requests from Medical Social Services in Vancouver General Hospital. More specifically, the examination was confined to the present use by medical personnel of the referral form, (M 234). This pilot project has been undertaken to explore the referral system in relation to improvement of medical social services offered in the out-patient department. As background, the history of medical social work, standards of medical care, and a resume of Medical Social Service in the out-patient department of Vancouver General Hospital is reviewed. Basic information for the study was obtained through a survey of all requests made to medical social service from out-patient clinics during November, 1960. In addition to this, twenty-four doctors of the specialty clinics were canvassed through the medium of a questionnaire, and personal interviews, to ascertain their opinions on (a) most convenient methods of referral, (b) kinds of social information, (c) reasons for referral, (d) and suggestions for improving medical social services. The findings of the study indicate that slightly less than one-third of the new patients admitted to the out-patient department clinics for November, 1960, were referred for medical social services. There is evidence that a far higher percentage than this could benefit from such services. The Social Service Department has been aware of the possibilities for some time, and the present study was undertaken in order to gain facts, opinions, and clarification towards improving the referral system in the interests of more adequate standards of medical care.

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