Medical Social Work (Children and Families)

Medical Social Work 
Temple Street Children’s University Hospital
Temple Street
Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 878 4212

Location in hospital

We are located upstairs in the main outpatients department.

About us

The Medical Social Work team (MSW) comprises of 18 full and part time Social Workers who are all full qualified and registered with CORU. Within a Hospital, the role of social workers is to support patients and their families through the emotional and practical challenges of childhood illness.   The role of the Medical Social Worker is to assess what a family’s needs might be and to address those needs within the service or to refer onto appropriate community based services for follow up.  Medical Social Worker particularly work with families whose lives are complicate by the illness of their child and their subsequent treatment or by social issues within the family.  

Medical Social Workers work, together with our colleagues, to offer a holistic service to our patients and their families.

Services provided

The Medical Social Work Department offers a number of services to the children in our care and their families. These services are available for children and their families who attend the hospital on both an outpatient and inpatient basis. We recognise the fact that a child’s illness and subsequent attendance at hospital can be a stressful time for families, therefore we offer both practical and emotional support with the aim of minimising these difficulties.

MSW’s work as part as the hospital’s multi-disciplinary team. Our primary focus is the emotional and social impact of illness and hospitalisation on the lives of our patients and their families. We work, together with our colleagues, to offer a holistic service to our patients and their families.

Childhood Illness

It is recognised that a diagnosis of a long-term condition or illness impacts on the whole family system. We offer support and counselling to children, parents and families who have a new diagnosis of illness or long- term condition. We assist families to make contact with local services that may offer support on the child’s discharge e.g. local health services or specialist voluntary agencies.

We are also aware of the impact a serious diagnosis may have on the siblings of the patient. Children are likely to have a number of concerns relating to their brother or sister’s attendance at hospital, the long-term prognosis and how the illness/condition will effect family life in general. The siblings of children who attend the hospital on an on-going basis may feel alienated from the hospital. In order to address this we in the MSW Dept. have initiated a sibling camp to be held on a regular basis. The aim of this project is to provide an opportunity for siblings to spend some time in the hospital, to learn more about their sibling’s condition and to receive therapeutic support.

Bereavement

In the event of the death of a child we offer a support and counselling service to families both at the time of the bereavement and on a follow- up basis. Parents are offered one to one support and assistance on both an emotional and a practical level. Parents are also invited to attend parent support groups organised by the department in conjunction with the hospital Bereavement Coordinator. These therapeutic groups give an opportunity for bereaved parents to meet and offer support to each other. We also run bereavement groups for siblings. These groups facilitate the expression of feelings and help children to normalise their loss experience

Child Welfare and Protection

From time to time families may have difficulties in caring for their children and meeting all their needs. We offer counselling and support to families who have problems relating to family separation, homelessness and relationship difficulties. We accept that the child’s welfare is paramount and work closely with parents, other colleagues and statutory authorities where these issues arise. Information is also available on social welfare and health board entitlements. 

Access: referral process

The Medical Social Workers accept referrals from the multi-disciplinary team, from patients and their families or from outside agencies.

What to expect at your MSW appointment 

Appointments with the medical social worker are usually arranged directly with the family at a time that is suitable to them.  During your first appointment, the medical social work will discuss with you your personal situation and ask you about the concerns or worries that you have.  By end of your first appointment, the medical social worker will usually be able to explain to you how you might work together to address these concerns.  The duration of contact with the medical social work department will depend on the individual circumstances and is not dependent on your child being an inpatient or an outpatient.  

Medical Social Workers also provide support to families over the phone, if that is more convenient.

Useful links and resources

https://www.iasw.ie/

Do you offer work shadowing or clinical placement?

We currently offer placements to students attending the Master of Social Work Courses in Irish Universities.

Contact us

Anne Marie Jones
Head Medical Social Worker
Medical Social Work Department
Temple Street Children’s University Hospital
Temple Street
Dublin 1
Tel: (01) 878 4212

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