Accessing Centrelink from Hospital: A Multisite Social Work Quality Assurance Project

Miss Siobhan Feely1, Ms Susan Dragon2

1Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville , Australia, 2Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Parkville , Australia

Social work practice in hospital settings frequently includes assisting patients in receipt of, or attempting to access Centrelink payments. However, little research or quality activities have been undertaken to fully understand the support these patients need, and associated factors such as access barriers, the impact on health and health care management.

This multisite project sought to: 1) document the frequency of social work interactions, and issues associated with, patients who required assistance with Centrelink and 2) identify current interventions and barriers experienced by social workers assisting patients with Centrelink. The study involved four tertiary hospitals: the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, The Royal Women’s Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital. Across these four sites the links between income security, poor health and general vulnerability are well understood.

A mixed methodology design was utilised. To achieve the study aims firstly, social workers were invited to participate in focus groups where they discussed practice with patients who require assistance with Centrelink matters and secondly, social workers were asked to undertake an audit of social work interventions for Centrelink matters over two, one week periods

This oral presentation will provide an overview of the multisite project methodology findings from focus groups and audits. The project and its findings are important because it will provide evidence around whether there are any gaps in supports provided, and the capacity of social workers to address commonly identified barriers to income support.


Biography:

Siobhan Feely is a social worker in the emergency department at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Susan Dragon is a social worker at Peter MacCallum Centre in the haematology stream.

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