Hospital treatment can have a profound impact on the patient and his environment. In high-quality, multidisciplinary patient care, social work can provide psychosocial and administrative support to help reinforce the medical treatment in the best possible way. This is possible when either the patient, his next-of-kin, an external care provider or the multidisciplinary team asks for help.
The range of responsibilities of social work vary depending on the target group: adults and children. Previously started help from the referring hospital is support and continued. The most vulnerable target populations are given priority.
The regular duties of social work include:
- Attention for personal processing (illness/ treatment)
- Attention for the impact of the diagnosis, treatment on the dynamics of the family and social functioning
- Attention for the preservation of social contacts, time use
- Bridge function between patient and treatment team (improve mutual communication)
- Re-integration of the work situation
- Practical arrangements linked to the treatment (e.g. transports)
- Clarify the financial situation
- Referral to social services
- Help with insurance questions
- Help with the home situation
- Residential support (convalescent home, short-stay, …)
- Referral to fellow patient groups or patient organisations
- Referral to other disciplines such as relaxation therapy, dieticians, psychologists ...
- General information or providing educational equipment for children
- Organise language assistance if necessary
If there are questions that need further follow-up, the request for help and targets are determined, in consultation with the patient. For questions that do not fit the support provided by the social worker, a referral for another relevant care provided will be discussed and initiated.
You can ask for an appointment, either directly with the social workers, or via the nurses of the radiation appliance or your radiotherapist.
A treatmen can be very demanding on your body. To maintain your weight and condition, it is necessary to have a sufficient energy (calories), fluids and nutrients intake.
Healthy food is obviously important for everyone, but in your situation it is especially important to be alert for what you eat and drink. With a good nutritional condition, you will be able to handle the treatment better, and your chance of complications will decrease.
Modifying your diet can make things easier for you and will ensure you don't have any additional problems as a result of the radiation and your food intake is big enough to recover from your treatment.
The dietician will be happy to give you advice. Depending on your wishes, and/or the severity of your complaints, she will provide support during the duration of your treatment.