Natural calamities and disasters are unpredictable; the moments they occur, medical services are often interrupted because they may destroy buildings and the medical infrastructure overall. In the situation under analysis, a devastating tornado occurred around an Atlanta-based pediatric hospital severely damaging its offices and affecting the physicians working in the facility. The destruction of the offices made it extremely difficult for the physicians to attend to the patients thus failing to offer them the much needed help and assistance. This occurred despite the hospital having a strong disaster plan aimed at protecting the main hospital and the patients.
Studies have revealed that in crises, medical social workers play critical roles in helping people by initiating ways of restoring service provision to clients (Cacciatore, Carlson, Michaelis, Klimek, & Steffan, 2011). In the analyzed scenario, medical social workers assisted in locating and establishing temporary office space to enable the physicians to continue with rendering their services to the patients. Significantly, the physicians were soon able to see their patients in the new temporary offices. In addition, the medical social workers even organized doubled schedules that allowed the patients to access services even during weekends. Moreover, the medical social workers were involved in retrieving medical information from the patients because most of the records had been destroyed during the natural calamity.
It is opined that during a crisis, a medical social worker should institute principles of crisis intervention directed at restoring the delivery of crucial medical services to the patients (Auerbach & Mason, 2010). Notably, medical social workers should maintain psychological contact as well as help establish relationships between patients and care providers identifying possible problems that may occur in critical situations. Moreover, to handle the crisis, they should be ready to generate alternative strategies aimed at restoring the normal functioning of a health care setting and implement sound action plans to enable the patients to access the necessary help.
Auerbach, C., & Mason, S. E. (2010). The value of the presence of social work in emergency
departments. Social Work in Health Care, 49(4), 314–326.
Cacciatore, J., Carlson, B., Michaelis, E., Klimek, B., & Steffan, S. (2011). Crisis intervention by
social workers in fire departments: An innovative role for social workers. Social Work, 56(1), 81–88.