The Medical Social Work Department of the University Hospital of the West Indies opened its doors in 1964 with a staff complement of (1) Social Worker, (1) Secretary and (1) Peace Corps volunteer. Now it has a staff complement of eleven (11), medical social workers and a secretary.

The Social Worker functions as an Enabler, Mediator, Educator, Advocate, Negotiator, Coordinator, Manager, Evaluator, Facilitator and Broker.

Their services extend throughout the entire Hospital from Ward 21, Psychiatry (Child Guidance, Child and Family Clinics; ward and day hospital Patients; Community Mental Health Services), Addiction Treatment Services Unit (ATSU), Specialist Blocks (Wards 17-20), Medical and Surgical wards (Wards 1-8 and the Medical Annex) and Haemodialysis Unit; Paediatric wards (Wards 14-16), Antenatal Clinic, Antenatal and Post Natal Wards, Gynaecology Ward, Labour Ward and The Special Care Nursery, Tropical Metabolism Research Unit and C.H.A.R.E.S.

The goals of the Medical Social Work department are to:-

  • Enhance clients' problem solving, coping and developmental capacities.
  • Link clients with systems which can provide them with needed resources and opportunities.
  • Promote the effective and human operation of systems which individuals with resources and services.
  • Develop and improve social policy.
  • Enhance human well being and alleviate poverty, oppression and other forms of social injustice.
  • Peruse policies, services and resources through advocacy and social or political actions that provide social and economic justice.
  • Develop and apply practice in the context of diverse culture.

In order to accomplish its goals the following therapies are employed:-

  • Task Centered Therapy
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Gestalt Therapy
  • Assertiveness training
  • Group Therapy
  • Rational Emotive Therapy
  • Reality Therapy
  • Contingency Contracting
  • Parent effectiveness Training
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Behaviour modification
  • Cognitive Approaches
  • General systems Approaches
  • Solution Focused Therapy
  • Role Theory Approaches
  • Time Management