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Medical Social Services

The Department of Medical Social Services (MSS) at Sengkang General Hospital is dedicated to providing timely psychosocial interventions to support patients and caregivers who face day-to-day stressors related to illnesses or various psychosocial challenges. 

As members of a multi-disciplinary team, Medical Social Workers (MSWs) play an integral role to deliver holistic care to patients. Through collaboration with healthcare and community stakeholders, MSWs mobilize resources to help patients and their families manage medical conditions and provide post-discharge support services. 

MSS cover all inpatient units and many outpatient clinics. Patients and families can ask their healthcare team for a referral.

The MSS team delivers the following services:

Care assessment and discharge planning

MSWs play an important role in assessing patients' care needs and providing the necessary support, information, and referrals to relevant external agencies. Together with the hospital's multi-disciplinary team, the objective is to ensure a smooth transition when patients return home and are supported by community partners to ensure a continuation of care.

Financial assessment and intervention

If you have difficulty paying your medical bill, you may approach our staff who will refer you to our MSWs for assistance. Your request will be kept strictly confidential. The amount of assistance may vary, depending on your financial circumstances. Assistance may be given in various forms.
  • MediFund, an endowment fund set up by the government to help Singaporeans who have difficulty paying for their subsidised medical expenses, after MediSave and Medishield claims where applicable
  • Other government assistance schemes, such as Medication Assistance Fund

Risk assessment and support

Our MSWs also conduct risk assessments for patients to ascertain potential safety issues after a patient’s discharge. Referrals can be made in situations whereby the patient has been admitted as a result of a suicide attempt or domestic violence. Through the assessment, MSWs will not only provide emotional support but will also work with the patient and the hospital team to develop safety plans for these patients. This includes support for those who have been physically and/or sexually assaulted and survivors of family violence and traumatic accidents.

Psycho-emotional support

Dealing with the onset of an illness or passing of a loved one is never an easy experience for patients and their families. MSWs organise and facilitate support groups, whereby patients or their families can share their concerns in a supportive environment and meet individuals who share similar experiences. We also provide counselling and psycho-emotional support to patients and their families who might be facing a myriad of psycho-emotional issues. This includes providing assistance to patients and their families to cope with illnesses, getting over grief and loss, bereavement, and any other emotional distress.  

Networking and collaboration

MSWs often collaborate with government institutions, Voluntary Welfare Organization (VWOs) and other community partners to develop prevention strategies and intervention programmes that aim to tackle challenging social issues within the community.

Education & Research

The department provides training both within the hospital and to external organisations. Some of these trainings include:
  1. Attending and communication skills for healthcare workers
  2. Coping with grief, loss and bereavement
  3. Advance Care Planning
  4. Social and financial resources related to healthcare
  5. Psychosocial and emotional impact of illnesses
  6. Stress Management
  7. Risk assessment and intervention

  In addition, the department is involved in Quality Improvement and other research projects.


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How can a Medical Social Worker (MSW) help me at Sengkang General Hospital?

MSWs are members of the health care team who assist patients and families with the stresses associated with sudden and chronic illness and its impact on everyday life. MSWs often consult with your medical team and help to facilitate communication with your doctors and nurses as well as coordinate a patient's discharge from the hospital. MSWs are also knowledgeable about community resources and can refer you to appropriate programs.  

How do I apply for financial assistance?

Similar to applying for government-assisted schemes, you would need to consult a MSW at SKH. Rest assured that your request will be kept strictly confidential.  

What Do You Talk to Patients About?

MSWs can provide support to patients regarding their medical condition, emotional coping, family issues, if you feel unsafe in your relationship, abuse, your living situation, finances, alcohol or drug use, grief and bereavement, assistance with health care in decision making, end of life issues and much more.  

Are Medical Social Work services confidential?

Any conversations you have with our MSW is confidential. This means that in most instances your MSW is not permitted to disclose information obtained from you to anyone other than your health care team without your consent. However, there are exceptions to this general rule, and a MSW may be required to disclose otherwise confidential communication in some situations. Examples include situations in which:
  • There is a question of child abuse or neglect, elder abuse or neglect, or abuse or neglect of a disabled person
  • There are reasons to believe the client will harm himself or others

How can a Medical Social Worker help with mental health issues?

MSWs engage in a wide range of tasks depending on the person they are working with. As described in the earlier sections, MSWs address the financial, care and psycho-emotional concerns of patients and their families. This may include applying for Medifund, risk/safety assessments, crisis support, referring to appropriate community services, work with their family members to support patients in their recovery, and other interventions.

How Can You Reach Us?

We are located at Medical Centre, Level 3. You may ask your doctor or nurse to contact us for you, or call us at 6930 6000 to fix an appointment with us.