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How a social worker could alleviate psychosocial problems of families accessing a child development clinic in Colombo

Authors:

Verity Slee ,

Social Worker, Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development, LK
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SM Senanayake,

Demonstrator, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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MP Senanayake

Professor of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo., LK
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Abstract

Objectives To describe psychosocial issues faced and the services available to children accessing the child development clinic and how a social worker could help extend services provided through the clinic.

Design A cross sectional descriptive qualitative study.

Method All children attending the weekly clinic were seen by a social work researcher and medical officer, over a period of seven months and in-depth interviews conducted on twenty five selected patients with significant psychosocial problems. The parent or accompanying care giver was enrolled through a volunteer process and subjected to an open ended consultation on problems faced, services available and accessed, and reasons for not accessing same. A study was made of disability services in the community.

Results All patients had psychosocial problems of varying degree. Twenty five children in whom social problems caused a significant adverse impact on the capacity of care givers in providing care and therapy included a broad range of complex issues. Financial concerns, poor utilization of government and non governmental support schemes, inadequacy of suitable transport, dearth of facilities for appropriate schooling, social isolation, lack of respite for caregivers and siblings, family disharmony, alcoholism, and absence of counseling services were among these. Viable options for solving identified problems and the ways in which a social services officer could assist in each situation are described.

Conclusion Families of children with disabilities face several difficulties in accessing services. Even when relevant services are available they are not competent to obtain these and are in need of extra help. A hospital based social services officer working within the team of the CDC could fulfill this role, effectively connecting government policy with the people it targets.

Key words: social worker, psychosocial problems, families accessing child development clinic

DOI = 10.4038/sljch.v37i2.95

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 2008; 37: 48-51

How to Cite: Slee, V., Senanayake, S. and Senanayake, M., 2008. How a social worker could alleviate psychosocial problems of families accessing a child development clinic in Colombo. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 37(2), pp.48–51. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v37i2.95
Published on 25 Sep 2008.
Peer Reviewed

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