Counseling in hospitals
Counselling services are a significant part of the health care system, and these services need to be incorporated into the health care delivery system. Every patient in need should have access to counselling services.
In today’s health services, more and more efficiency is being demanded of all health workers. In addition to his professional expertise and skills the counsellor can offer his patient the precious resource of private uninterrupted time. In medical care today there is an innate tendency to let a chasm or gap develop between purely clinical or technical care, and psychological care. Counsellors in hospitals and other medical settings may let health workers go on with the responsibilities requiring detachment, whilst the counsellors provide the listening and response needed by the patient.
Certain basic facilities, infrastructure and systems need to be in place for counselling in hospitals to effectively meet the needs of patients and clients and the objectives and mission of the hospital administration. These are discussed below.
Facilities Required for Hospital based Counselling & the Role of Hospital Administration
Hospital management should ensure that there is adequate space for counselling, well lit and ventilated with minimal distractions, where privacy can be maintained. The rooms should have the following:
- Table(s) and Chairs.
- Secure cupboards for locking up equipment and confidential records.
- Filing cabinet.
The hospital administration should provide for:
- On-the-job training of the counsellor.
- Sensitization on counselling for the rest of the hospital staff.
- Logistical support for the counsellor.
- Liaison with GOs and NGOs and other social support systems in the community
for continuity of care.
- Updates on the latest developments in the field of counselling to the counsellor.
- An annual budget for the counselling service.
- Setting up a clear referral system from or to the community.
- Conducting regular performance appraisals and proper monitoring.
- Including the counsellor in a hospital committee.
Responsibilities of a Hospital based Counsellor
1. To provide counselling services to clients/patients in need in the hospital setting.
2. To follow a time-table for counselling and regular follow up of clients/patients.
3. To adhere to professional ethics when providing counselling services.
4. To keep all information on the client/patient confidential.
5. To develop a system of documentation and reporting that is regularly updated and
reported to hospital management.
6. To collaborate with other counsellors and professionals in the hospital and work as a team.
7. To sensitize the hospital community on counselling and to promote counselling in the hospital.
8. To develop a networking and referral system in collaboration with hospital management.
9. To provide on the job training on counselling to counselling trainees and other professionals.
10. To set time for supervision for both peer group and vertical supervision.
11. To be a resource person for the hospital and teaching institutions attached to the hospital.
12. To carry out any other job related to counselling that may be given by hospital management.
The counsellor may report to the Medical Superintendent or Deputy Superintendent and may be attached to the Social Work Department or office of the hospital.