Social Service Department
Our ability to support some of the McGill University Health Centre’s (MUHC) most vulnerable patients, especially those faced with life-threatening illnesses, is dependent on us being able to ensure their most basic needs are met. If they cannot afford essential things like proper nutrition, transportation to the hospital, and the cost of medication – we can’t possibly hope to get them well.Barbara Himsl
The stress and anxiety of a diagnosis and illness can turn a person’s world upside down. From tests and procedures to waiting for results and wondering what comes next, the journey that lies ahead can be daunting, and many patients rely on their strong support network of family and friends to help them through.
However, without meaningful support networks, some of our population’s most vulnerable patients including low income families, newly-landed immigrants or refugee claimants, and those suffering from mental health issues or chronic diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C, are faced with an enormous struggle on their journey to recovery. With no one to rely on for emotional and financial support, they can be left feeling extremely isolated. In addition to the psychological stress of facing a potentially life-threatening illness, many also live at or below the poverty line, and may have to weigh the need for food, shelter and the basic necessities of life against their imminent need for healthcare and its inherent costs.
The MUHC’s Social Service Department serves and supports adult patients with complex care needs. These patient advocates help families cope with the stress of hospitalization, illness or injury and are specially trained to: provide counselling for patients and their families, assess psychosocial needs, and provide referrals to community agencies for support and additional services. MUHC social workers also help patients transition back to their homes as well as educate patients and their families about available community and government resources. As a central member of each patient’s multidisciplinary team, the social worker helps foster strong relationships between the care team and patients and their families.
To meet the growing demands of the MUHC’s Social Service Department and continue to improve the patient experience, the MUHC is seeking to help more families affected by complex illnesses by funding:
- Medical supplies
- Baby needs (diapers, formula, etc.)
- Emergency child care expenses
- Living expenses (utility bills, groceries, etc.)
- Parking & Transportation
- Clothing and other basic necessities
- Outstanding ambulance fees