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Medical social service in Shaughnessy hospital out-patients' clinic : a comparative study Paton, John Robert Drury

Abstract

Department of Veterans' Affairs hospitals and Out-Patients Clinics represent part of a comprehensive program of health and welfare for the war veteran. Although the services offered by these hospitals are available to a few classes of civilians, by far the largest number of patients are former service men. This study attempts to make an appraisal of the scope and level of medical social service presently being offered to patients in attendance at Shaughnessy Hospital Out-Patients' Clinic. In order to accomplish this all available records for two separate groups of patients were surveyed. One group was made up of the total (84) referrals from Out-Patients' Clinic to Medical Social Service during a particular six-month period. Tie other group comprised an approximately equal number of patients not so referred. Besides background information, the main classification used included (a) medical diagnoses, (b) use of other D.V.A. services, (c) Social problems. In each case an assessment was made of the needs and the adequacy of the services given. The findings of the study indicate that at present less than one per cent of out-patients are being referred to the Social Service Department, although a far higher percentage than this could probably benefit from such a referral. The Medical Social Service Department has been aware of the possibilities for some time, and the present study was undertaken in order to gain facts and clarification, and make possible realistic plans for the future development of such service. Recommendations include (a) suggestions for improvement of recording, (b) the assignment of a social worker to the Out-Patients' Clinic, his services to be available to both physicians and patients, and (c) suggestions for further research.

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