The Role of Social Workers in Pediatric Oncology

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Archives of the Balkan Medical Union
Introduction. In the past years, the role of social workers in the oncological disease treatment processes has significantly increased. The role implies supporting patient’s psychosocial conditions. This study aims at studying psycho-social challenges of oncological children and their families and defining a role of social work in this area. Methods. As part of a qualitative study, five interviews were conducted with pediatric oncologists, also 15 in-depth interviews with family members of oncological patients and a focus group with 8 members. For the quantitative study, 62 beneficiaries and 12 medical specialists were interviewed. Results. The children with oncology conditions and their families faced psycho-social challenges and were in need of social workers’ support in overcoming those challenges. The study demonstrated a low level of public awareness. There is a lack of information among both doctors and beneficiaries. Both psychologists and social workers are involved in re-socialization of oncological children and they care for the improvement of children’s quality of life and support their families. However, there are only a few of such organizations. Therefore, many people who need their support have no chance to take such services. Conclusion. Implementing the social work in the pediatric oncology will be a major step toward the medical quality standards.
pediatric oncology, childhood cancer, social worker
Tengiz Verulava, Tinatin Asatiani T, Beka Dangadze, Revaz Jorbenadze. The role of social workers in pediatric oncology. Archives of the Balkan Medical Union 2019;54(2):315-319.