Medical social workers are social workers who help people who are in hospital. Our main role is to help patients and their families with any psychological, emotional, social or practical difficulties during their hospital stay. Medical social workers work as part of the medical and surgical teams.

What we do

Medical social workers help people function the best they can in their environment. This means talking to people and/or their families to help them solve their problems. We also give information about other services that can help. Social workers help patients deal not only with how they feel about a situation but also with what they can do about it.

The medical social workers in the Mater Hospital mainly work with inpatients and their families.

Social work services are also available for the following Mater Hospital outpatient clinics:

  • Infectious diseases
  • Medicine for the elderly
  • Cancer
  • Heart and lung transplant

We help about 5,500 new patients per year. Our social workers commonly provide support with the following difficulties:

  • Homelessness
  • Child safety and welfare
  • Elder abuse
  • Self-harm
  • Domestic violence 
  • Information, issues, concerns and feelings about an illness 
  • Arranging home supports
  • Arranging nursing home care
  • Stress, anger and depression
  • Loss and bereavement
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Addiction
  • Issues related to sexual assault or abuse
  • Crisis pregnancy 
  • Issues related to caring for a dependent relative 
  • Financial worries 
  • Supporting applications to other agencies

We also provide support groups for patients with cancer and those who are bereaved in the Mater Hospital.

Referral information

If you are a patient and would like to see a medical social worker, you can ask a member of the medical, nursing or health and social care professionals to refer you.

You or your family member can also contact us directly by phone or by calling to our department on Level 1 of the Whitty Building.