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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social worker participation in the treatment of the mentally ill : a study of the current program at the Provincial Mental Hospital and the Crease Clinic of Psychological Medicine, Essondale, B.C. Pepper, Gerald Wesley


Evolution in the improved treatment of the mentally ill has been slow, and even today there is much variation in hospitals and communities. One of the most recent developments towards more effective treatment is the use of the treatment team. The members of this team, as a rule, are: doctor, nurse, psychologist, occupational therapist and social worker. Each one of these professional disciplines shares his knowledge of the patient with the others, so that all areas of the patient's life can be given full consideration. This thesis examines the role of the social worker in the treatment team that works with the mentally ill in two treatment centres - the Provincial Mental Hospital and the Crease Clinic of Psychological Medicine at Essondale, B.C. The study was undertaken to point up the social worker's area of competence and show where it can be used to the best advantage in the mental hospital program. The material used to evaluate the program was obtained through interviews with members of the social service staff, by attendance at staff meetings, reviewing, records of past staff, meetings, and by examining reports that have been prepared by various members of the staff on their casework activities. The study was meant to be more of a qualitative analysis and because of this a minimum of statistical material has been included. An examination of the treatment program shows that the social worker offers casework services to the patient and. his family from the time of the patient's admission to the Hospital or the Clinic until long after his discharge. Specifically, this means that social service is available, to the patient from the time of his reception; while he is under treatment on the ward; at the time that he is preparing for his return to his home; and also after his discharge in the form of counseling or rehabilitation services. The social worker offers further services in the areas of education and training (of social work and other professional staff); in research primarily to point out the needs in their own area of the treatment program; and also in community interpretation. Participation, to a limited extent, is seen in hospital administration. In concluding the study, it was pointed up that there is a need for more participation in the administrative aspects of treatment, the importance of social workers on the wards was stressed, and an increased emphasis on the rehabilitation of the patient was recommended.

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