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Social services for mental patients and their families : an examination of social work functions, and criteria for the establishment of a social service department in a Saskatchewan mental hospital (Weyburn) Heuser, Alexander Peter

Abstract

This study reviews the procedures, standards, and administrative requirements inherent in the setting up of a Social Service Department in a mental hospital. Recommendations for a future Social Service Department are based upon: (a) standards for adequate social service as recommended by the American Psychiatric Association and other professional personnel, and (b) the experience of some existing departments in Canada. The latter include: (a) the Social Service Departments at the Crease Clinic of Psychological Medicine and the Provincial Mental Hospital, Essondale, British Columbia, and (b) the After Care Department of the Ontario, Hospital, London, Ontario. This study has also incorporated the information and findings contained within four previous Master of Social Work theses, dealing with (a) the analysis of social work services in a mental hospital, (b) administrative aspects of a social service department in a mental hospital, (c) post-discharge problems of mental patients. The study has examined social work functions in a mental hospital, including: social services rendered during admission, social services rendered during the period of treatment, social services rendered during rehabilitation and convalescence. To ensure effective provision of these social services, the study has outlined "job descriptions" for each social work position within a Social Service Department. Three selected Social Service Departments were examined on the basis of: (a) administrative structure, (b) personnel, and (c) services rendered. Methods used include direct observation, interviews and correspondence with administrative personnel, an examination of information in annual reports and relevant professional articles. The projected department is divided into three distinct sections: (a) an Admissions Section; (b) a Continuing Casework Section: and (c) an Out-Patient Section. To ensure adequate administration and service, such a department requires twenty appropriately-qualified personnel: sixteen social workers at the direct service level; three social workers, each as Casework Supervisor of a Section; and one social worker as the Director of Social Service.

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