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Social casework in the mental hospital : a quantitative analysis of social casework services at the Crease Clinic of Psychological Medicine, 1953 Schlesinger, Ernest

Abstract

This study makes a definitive survey of the social services made available to mental patients at the Crease Clinic of Psychological Medicine during the year of 1953. The purpose of the survey was to describe as clearly as possible the actual social services provided by social caseworkers to patients undergoing short-term treatment at a mental hospital. In order to analyze the nature of typical social casework help, it was necessary to define the specific components making up services to the mentally ill and their families. Since there is apparently no available standard, a special classification of services was devised for the present study. This was achieved by visualizing the social needs of the patient and his family as he moves through his period of hospitalization, from admission to discharge. A questionnaire listing these services was prepared, and was answered by the patients’ social workers. The patients studied were by people selected by a routine sampling procedure. An examination of the casework help to the patients revealed that 25 out of 64, and 29 of their families, received help through face-to-face interviews with the social worker. All the patients were helped through diagnostic planning at ward rounds, and 44 were further assisted through a therapeutic use of social resources by the social worker. The specific services to the patients and the specific services to the relatives were shown to be similar in frequency. In both instances most of the services were aimed at helping people with their discomforts in social relationships. In conclusion, the study points out some of the problems in the screening of patients for social casework help, including the difficulty of giving effective service with insufficient staff. Also emphasized is the necessity for social agencies to facilitate research through standardization of recording, because of the need for further development in quantitative and analytical evaluation of services which are not clearly understood by the general public, and even by some professional people.

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