Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — More than 80 per cent of the country’s 35 central hospitals have a division for social work to improve their quality of service, according to an official involved with a programme to set up the divisions.
Speaking at a meeting held to review six years of the programme in HCM City yesterday, deputy head of its steering committee, Dr Nguyễn Hồng Sơn, said the rate is much higher than the target of just four central hospitals by 2020.
A third of the more than 300 provincial-level hospitals and even many district health facilities have set up this division.
Nguyễn Văn Hiếu of the division at the Phú Thọ Province General Hospital said his division’s 38 employees take the initiative to co-operate with doctors to learn about the health of patients, including poor ones, to identify what kind of assistance -- material or psychological -- they need.
Patients who are victims of violence, accidents or natural disasters are provided therapy and counselling in legal provisions, forensic tests, and others, he said.
Sơn said patients are often ignorant about administrative procedures and the benefits of health insurance, and counselling by the division staff is greatly necessary, he said.
For many patients, hospitals are like a “labyrinth” and so they need to be guided, he said.
Providing such guidance is one of his division’s tasks, he added.
In many places, staff of the division organise entertainment programmes to amuse patients.
Sơn said unlike in other countries, hospitals in Việt Nam usually do not have enough staff to provide comprehensive care to patients.
So patients’ families often hire care givers to stay with them at the hospital.
He said hospitals’ social work divisions should train and manage the care givers.
Besides, their staff should pay more attention to psychotherapy for patients, he said.
“Social work at hospitals has helped improve patients and their relatives’ satisfaction with the healthcare services. It is vital in improving the quality of examination and treatment.”
But these divisions face a shortage of staff trained in social work in the health sector, and this renders their services ineffective, he said. —VNS