Shang­hai seek­ing more so­cial work­ers

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By WANG HONGYI in Shang­hai wanghongyi@chi­

The med­i­cal so­cial worker pro­fes­sion is not well known in China, but Shang­hai, which cre­ated the first depart­ment to train peo­ple in the field, is seek­ing more such work­ers to meet in­creas­ing de­mands for their ser­vices.

Med­i­cal so­cial work­ers, or hos­pi­tal so­cial work­ers, as they also are known, work with hos­pi­tal pa­tients and their fam­i­lies to ob­tain a va­ri­ety of needed re­sources, in­clud­ing as­sis­tance in prob­lem solv­ing and cop­ing.

In 2000, the city’s East Hos­pi­tal es­tab­lished the first med­i­cal so­cial work depart­ment on the Chi­nese main­land.

“We have worked to ex­plore more ef­fec­tive ways for the de­vel­op­ment of med­i­cal so­cial work and have also seen some good re­sults. But faced with the in­creas­ing de­mand for med­i­cal ser­vices from pa­tients and their fam­i­lies, there is still a long road for us to go,” said Wu Jin­glei of the Shang­hai Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

A med­i­cal so­cial work and vol­un­teer ser­vice sys­tem has been set up in the city, with the gov­ern­ment, hos­pi­tals, high­ere­d­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions and so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions work­ing to­gether.

Wu said the city is plan­ning to im­prove the ser­vice sys­tem by es­tab­lish­ing a com­pre­hen­sive work pro­gram for med­i­cal so­cial work­ers and vol­un­teers at hos­pi­tals. It also will in­te­grate re­sources from health, civil af­fairs, hu­man re­sources and so­cial se­cu­rity de­part­ments.

The city also will pro­vide more pro­fes­sional train­ing for med­i­cal so­cial work­ers and hos­pi­tal vol­un­teers and es­tab­lish a stan­dard­ized as­sess­ment sys­tem, he said.

In Shang­hai, 152 hos­pi­tals and med­i­cal bod­ies have been us­ing the med­i­cal so­cial work pro­gram, which in­cludes more than 50,000 hos­pi­tal vol­un­teers, most with a cer­tain amount of med­i­cal back­ground, he said.

From 2012 to 2014, a to­tal of 652 med­i­cal so­cial work­ers re­ceived train­ing to im­prove their clin­i­cal ser­vice abil­i­ties.

More than 70 per­cent of peo­ple in a survey said med­i­cal so­cial work­ers can help pa­tients bet­ter follow a doc­tor’s in­struc­tions, and about a half said med­i­cal so­cial work­ers can help ease stress­ful re­la­tions be­tween doc­tors and pa­tients, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased by the city’s health depart­ment.

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