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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social casework for in-patients in a veterans' hospital : an analytical survey of social services rendered in relation to the psychosocial problems of a group of male in-patients, Shaughnessy Hospital, 1956 Bateman, Ellen Leona


The social worker in a medical setting functions as a member of a team, whose aim is to achieve the greatest possible rehabilitation of patients and families handicapped by illness. This study is an examination of psychosocial problems and is an exploratory survey (comparable to others which have been made in different settings) aimed at clearer identification of problems in which the services of the social worker are relevant, and of the nature of these services. It applies in this instance to male hospitalized veterans. The method used in the survey was to compile pertinent data on district office, hospital, and social service records of a sample group of 50 male in-patients, referred to the Medical Social Service Department, Shaughnessy Hospital, January-June, 1956. The information was extracted from the case records by means of a schedule. Classifications were developed to show the frequency and distribution of (a) psychosocial problems and (b) kinds of social services rendered. A selection of case summaries was used to illustrate further the nature of problems, and the methods used in treating them. The findings revealed that M.S.S.D. services are being used mainly for those younger hospitalized veterans with fair potential for rehabilitation. There is indication of potential value in extending the services to older veterans. Most requests for service continue to be related mainly to practical problems such as economic and housing needs, as well as for aid with medical diagnosis. The frequency and variety of psychosocial problems indicates need for increased direct service applied to the more intangible psychological problems related to illness and handicap. Discussion on the implications of the study findings includes possible means of increasing the effectiveness of social services. This requires, among other things, further studies of services related to particular needs, broader interpretation of social services, and demonstration of the effectiveness of intensive or long-term casework in the treatment of patients. Such developments should increase the effectiveness of the over-all programme for the rehabilitation of the veteran patient.

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