- social services
- advice and practical help with problems due to social circumstances. Every local authority is responsible for establishing and staffing a social service department, although block exchequer grants monitored by the Department of Work and Pensions meet some of the costs. An increasing proportion of the social workers in these departments are professionally trained. The present policy is to train generic social workers, but there are special social workers with medical and psychiatric training who are seconded for work in hospitals (see medical social worker). Social workers assess the eligibility of clients for such social services as care assistants and meals on wheels or refer them to the appropriate statutory or voluntary services; difficulties may sometimes arise when the hospital catchment area is not coterminous with the local authority. In relation to mental health, social workers may obtain court orders for compulsory admission where necessary and provide surveillance and support for those being treated at home or in designated hostel accommodation, including those discharged from hospital. (See also aftercare.) Case work involves identifying the cause of the client's problem and, where appropriate, advising how best to correct it and/or adapt to the circumstances.
Medical dictionary. 2011.
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