Public urged to stop abandoning relatives at GPHC
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Coordinator of the Social Work Department at GPHC, Clayton Newman
Coordinator of the Social Work Department at GPHC, Clayton Newman

THE Medical Social Work Department of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is urging the public to desist from neglecting their hospitalised relatives as this is putting a strain on the hospital.

Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle, the department’s coordinator, Clayton Newman, said that the hospital does not have the capacity to keep persons who have been discharged but were neglected by relatives or friends.

He highlighted that the department is responsible for assisting patients and families to understand the illness and treatment options, the consequences of various treatments or treatment refusal, helping patients and families adjust to hospital admission, possible role changes and to explore emotional or social responses to illness and treatment.

The department also educates patients on the roles of healthcare team members which is to help patients and their families to communicate with each other and the members of healthcare team, and it also interprets information and educate hospital staff on patient psychosocial issues.

Staff also coordinate patient discharge and continuity of care planning, collaborate with other social institutions such as the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, Childcare Protection Agency (CPA), the Night Shelter and Palms and also help to find placement for abandoned patients and the destitute.

Newman said that there is a home in Sophia that accommodates children and families and that neglected children are handed over to the CPA after they are discharged by the hospital.

“If it is a destitute, we will take care of them. We consider a destitute, a person who has lost or severed ties with their family for more than 10 years, not somebody that you can’t take care of,” he said.

Newman added that it is the family’s responsibility to take care of their relative, but, if guidance is needed on how to take care of them, the department will assist after they are referred by a doctor.

He also noted that the Christmas season is the peak time for an uptick in neglected patients. He said that is the biggest challenge faced by the hospital’s department.

He also expressed how inconvenient it is to have the neglected persons in spaces and beds where patients are supposed to be.
“Patients are sometimes treated in chairs because of the lack of space,” Newman said.

Meanwhile, he shared some more responsibilities of the department, none of which involve caring for neglected persons.

“We deal with the loss of limb, coping with diagnosis, disorientated mental health state, trauma due to sexual molestation or rape, grief and bereavement issues and educating caregivers on the needs of patients,” he said.

The hospital, he noted, is also faced with several challenges such as the unavailability of adequate institutions to refer abandoned cases to and limited personal care items to readily distribute to persons in need.

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