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Medical Social Work Department

  Welcome to the Medical Social Work Department


The Medical Social Work Dept has been in place in SVUH for over 60 years. Currently, the department consists of 1 Principal Social Worker; 8 Senior Social Workers; 1 Senior Social Work Practitioner; and 7 Professionally Qualified Social Workers.  

What is Social Work?

Social Work is the professional activity of assisting and empowering individuals, groups and communities. We do this by enhancing and restoring a person’s capacity for social functioning.

The practice of Social Work consists of the professional application of social work values, principles and techniques, and requires knowledge of human development and behaviour, as well as social, economic and cultural factors.

Social Work is about working with people and seeing the whole person in the context of their current circumstances. Social Workers respond to both crises and emergencies as well, as to everyday personal and social problems. 

Social Workers use a variety of skills, techniques & activities to assist individuals in making and sustaining positive change.

Social Work in a Medical Setting

Medical Social Workers recognise that illness and admission to hospital may have a direct impact on the psychological, social, and emotional well-being of the individual and his/her family.  We believe the opposite is also true - a person’s social background and support network will influence their physical / psychological health and wellbeing, as well as their recovery.

The role of the Medical Social Worker, therefore, is to offer counselling, support, and practical assistance to patients and their families or carers, who may be experiencing these difficulties during their hospital stay. 


St. Vincent’s University Hospital Social Work Department

The Social Work Department in St. Vincent’s University Hospital offers a service to all patients and families within the hospital. We accept referrals from patients and families themselves, as well as all members of the multi-disciplinary team, and community service professionals.

Please note:

Any concerns relating to Domestic Violence; Elder Abuse; Child Protection or Homelessness must be notified to the Social Work Department immediately.

Our role within the Multi-disciplinary team:

·         Psychosocial Assessments – Assessment of a person’s problem solving, coping, emotional and developmental capacities in the context of their social and environmental circumstances.

·         Individual Therapeutic Work

·         Group Work (Educational & Therapeutic)

·         Working with families or carers and facilitating family meetings

·         Practical Assistance and Problem-solving

·         Crisis intervention

·         Linking in with statutory and voluntary services regarding patients and their families or carers

·         Mediation and Advocacy for patients and relatives alike

·         Liaising with members of the Multi-disciplinary team

·         Care and Discharge Planning

·         Facilitating placement of elderly persons and persons under 65 into residential care

·         Supportive intervention and adjustment to illness

·         HIV Pre- and post-test counselling

·         Bereavement Counselling

·         Addiction Work

·         Providing support and practical assistance to those experiencing Homelessness

·         Assessing Child Protection / Elder Abuse / Domestic Violence concerns and referring on as appropriate.

Social Welfare enquiries

The Medical Social Work Department does not deal directly with any Social Welfare claims or enquiries. Instead, we advise that you contact your local Social Welfare office or Citizens Information Centre. For patients and their families within the hospital, there is a Citizens Information Centre clinic in operation on Mondays and Wednesdays (10am – 4pm). This is located on the main corridor in the hospital (“Centrepoint”) opposite the shop.



Location / Contact details

The Social Work Department is located on the ground floor of the Herbert Wing (Old Private Hospital). Our office hours are 9am until 5pm (closed for lunch 1-2pm).

St Vincent’s University Hospital

Elm Park, Dublin 4.

Ph: 01 221 4831 / 4286

Email: socialwork@svuh.ie