The Role of Social Work
The onset of illness or injury frequently disrupts personal and family lifestyles. It may also impose changes accompanied by new or unexpected stress.
At London Health Sciences Centre, social workers are available in all hospital programs to assist patients and their families with any difficulties that may result from a hospitalization or adjustment to a medical condition.
LHSC’s social workers are members of the health care team, professionally trained in providing individual, family and group therapy. Social workers seek to understand all patients in relation to their family needs, social supports and community ties.
All Social Workers are registered with The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers (OCSWSSW), the provincial regulatory body.
Renal Social Workers
Renal social workers are available in all parts of the program to assist patients and their families adjust to chronic renal failure and to the eventual need for dialysis. This includes;
- Chronic Kidney Disease Clinics
- Kidney Transplant Clinics
- Hemodialysis Units
- Home Hemodialysis Units
- Peritoneal Dialysis Units
Our goal is to assist patients and their families to normalize life as much as possible and to enable them to continue to lead a meaningful and active life.
"How I coped with my own stress as a family member"
Some of the ways that renal social workers can help are:
- Counselling patients and families in adjusting to chronic renal disease/dialysis
- Assisting with decision-making around dialysis treatment options
- Address sources of stress and conflict
- Preparing for admission to hospital or outpatient procedures
- Discharge planning-assisting with plans to leave hospital including residential placement
- Making connections to services within the hospital and in the community
- Assisting families to obtain financial help, accommodations, or home support services
- Co-facilitate kidney disease education classes and ongoing patient education
When would it be helpful to talk to a renal social worker?
People often talk to us when they are concerned about:
- Lack of knowledge about kidney disease/dialysis
- Confusion/ambivalence about starting dialysis and treatment options
- Adjustment to chronic illness and treatment
- Relationship and family issues
- Grief and loss
- Anxiety and depression
- Quality of life issues and ambivalence about continuing with dialysis
- Parenting and chronic illness issues
- Communication and information received from the health care team
- Arrangements needed for care at home or in an alternative living situation
- Community Support Services
Please feel free to contact your social worker by calling your Nephrologist’s clinic or speaking to your nurse in the dialysis unit.