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Department of Medical Social Work

Our Services

  • Counselling

We provide counselling to patients and their loved ones to support them in coping with the impact of their medical condition and the resultant life changes.

  • Care Arrangement & Discharge-planning

We assist patients who present with complex psychosocial and discharge-planning needs, conduct timely assessment and interventions to help patients and/or families cope with personal, emotional and biopsychosocial issues affecting hospitalisation and the delivery of care through appropriate linkages with community resources and supportive counselling.

  • Financial Assistance

We assess and administer financial assistance for patients or families who have difficulties affording their medical bills. While doing so, we also aim to improve the responsiveness and accessibility of financial assistance schemes.

  • Crisis Intervention

Psychosocial assessment, counselling support, as well as practical assistance are provided to patients who may be admitted under the circumstances of a crisis. This includes patients who experience family violence, sexual assault, self-harm or suicide attempts, abuse and/or neglect, amongst others.

  • Education, Teaching & Networking

We are involved in clinical supervision to social work students from NUS and are also actively engaged in inter-professional teaching to the medical students from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSoM) through lectures, talks and patient experience attachments. We are also involved in the national MSW Chapter training, as well as regional workgroups with government and voluntary organisations.

  • Support Groups

The Department runs group work to further provide educational and emotional support to specific groups of patients and their loved ones.

o     Dream Catchers: Dream Catchers is a peer group programme comprising youths (11 to 35 years old) living with various forms of childhood chronic illnesses. The programme aims to equip these youths with support and life skills needed to navigate through the ups and downs of their illnesses.

o    ‘Incredible Years’ Parenting Programme: The 'Incredible Years' Parenting Programme is an evidence-based treatment programme for families with children who have behaviour issues and defiant disorder. It focuses on strengthening the parents' competency level and building positive parent-child relationship. It aims to equip parents with strategies to work with young children and their behaviour issues, promote their social, emotional and academic competency level, as well as foster mutual support among parents.

o     Kids Connect: Kids Connect is a holiday support programme targeted at children (7 to 12 years old) whose parents or loved ones are impacted by cancer. The group sessions, which comprise play and other creative activities, aim to help children moderate their feelings by providing avenues to express these feelings, and strategies to cope with them.

o     Empowered Living (HIV Support Group): Empowered Living is a joint psycho-education programme by the Medical Social Service Departments at SGH and NUH. The programme serves as a safe platform for group sharing, and provides psycho-education on nutrition, sexual health and other issues.

o     Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme: The Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme is run by the multidisciplinary team at the National University Heart Centre, Singapore (NUHCS) with the aim of supporting cardiac patients over their recovery process. Our MSW team facilitates a psycho-education talk and support group session for the cardiac patients, providing a platform for learning and mutual sharing.

  • CARE (Caring Action in Response to Emergency)

The Department heads and coordinates the hospital’s psychological response through its CARE teams during national emergencies and incidents of mass casualty. 

Besides MSWs, staff members from other departments receive our training and form part of the CARE team. There are extensive CARE coverage at the Emergency Area, Relative Holding Area, and strategic locations for us to reach out to the ones affected.

  • Hospital Peer Support Programme - CARE buddies

The Department pioneered and is continuing to champion the hospital’s peer support programme for staff.

The NUH CARE Buddies Programme seeks to provide recognised training to staff, to equip them to provide psychological support to peers during critical incidents, stress, or personal events, and burn-out. Currently, all wards and outpatient areas have set up CARE Buddies Team. More than 500 staff interested in this area of work have obtained an internationally recognised certification.