Role of social workers in health care in Saudi Arabia
Role of social workers in health care in Saudi Arabia

Role of social workers in health care in Saudi Arabia

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The medical social service became the concern of the Ministry of Health for its objective of providing social care alongside medical treatment, thus addressing patients’ feelings of security regarding their future and the future of their family. Attention is paid to the humanitarian aspect in the life of the patient and helps to speed healing and to benefit from medical treatment (Policies and Procedures Manual socio-medical service, Guide, 2008).

Medical social services are important because they provide patients with comfort, stability and tranquillity. They also help in the recovery of a patient’s abilities, allowing him/her to be a useful member of society (Policies and Procedures Manual socio-medical service, Guide, 2008). Medical social services are a key area in the social work profession. They are performed in different medical institutions such as hospitals and health centres. The roles of medical social service professionals are effectively integrated with the rest of the team members at such institutions, so that the process eventually bears fruit for providing outstanding health and social care  for patients (AL Baz, 1999).

According to Berkman, “The hospital … must become part of a primary care network of community-oriented delivery systems focused on chronic disease management. In this model, the social worker treats the patient throughout the continuum of care. Therefore, dynamic training that addresses the changing health care environment will be needed” (1996, p. 541).

The government is interested in the health care sector because officials believe that there is a close relationship between providing health services to citizens and the possibility of achieving the government’s goals of overall development (al Shahd, 1992). Healthy development is one of the primary intentions in the Kingdom and it is difficult to then turn to the social development without private health development in the medical field to improve the level of the health conditions of all through medical services from both curative and preventive aspects (Al Qaod, 1993)

The importance of medical social services in this area was supposed to involve the individual social worker as a member of the medical team, who works with the rest of the team to develop and improve health care (Al Qaod, 1993), (Job Description for Medical Social Service, 2001). The professional practice of social workers in the medical field is of a humanitarian nature in first instance and is of interest to all specialists in this area as it complements the other roles exercised by specialists in hospitals and is an important part of service in the social framework of a community’s goals. This is to be achieved based on the concepts of interdependence and social solidarity and humanitarian support of socio-psychological nature of patients of all kinds in order to contribute to the integrated treatment plan for them (medical – psychosocial (Job Description for Medical Social Service, 2001).

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