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Head Medical Social Workers (HMSW) Associate Group

The purpose of the National Head Medical Social Worker’s Associate Group is to provide a source of information and support to social work service managers in medical settings.

Aims:       

  • Identify, discuss and develop a stance on the core principles and issues related to the practice of health related social work
  • To agree a position and lobby appropriate bodies on behalf of the clients we work with on issues of concern
  • To identify, discuss and provide guidance on site-specific issues in the everyday practice of medical social work
  • To set appropriate national standards in relation to the practice of medical social work
  • To provide support to members in their everyday work through the discussion of challenges in the practice of medical social work 

Membership

The National Head Medical Social Workers Forum represents service managers from a wide range of medical settings including adult acute medical settings (private and public), paediatrics, maternity, rehabilitation & disability, long term care and hospice.

Kaylene Jackson (Principal MSW National Maternity Hospital, Dublin) continues as Chairperson of the group together with Anne O’ Loughlin (Principal MSW, National Rehabilitation Hospital) continuing on as Secretary.

Throughout 2020 members of this group were actively engaged in service planning and adaptation in response to COVID 19 across all medical settings. Although safe and effective service delivery was the clear priority at a local organisational level, there was a number of collaborative guidance documents produced at a broader, national level. These include:

  • The Liaison Social Work Role in Nursing Homes and Residential Settings: A Model for Practice.
  • Guidance for Medical Social Workers - Responding to Covid_19 Pandemic
  • Guidance for Bereavement Support provided by Specialist Palliative Care Social Workers in Ireland – COVID 19.
  • Beyond the Door Visualisation Poster

Virtual meetings were resumed in September 2020 which allowed members to reconnect and reflect on organisational strategies and learning throughout the pandemic such as:

  • The introduction of flexible and responsive service pathways through reorganised team structures and service patterns;
  • Integration of telehealth platforms into core social work practice with minimal lead in time and resources;
  • Maintaining the voice of human rights and dignity across stressed and distressed medical settings;
  • Supporting and protecting the health and wellbeing of social work teams.

Kaylene Jackson

Chairperson – HMSW Associate Group