General Information
The Social Worker is a trained practitioner who is qualified to provide counselling and practical support to patients and their families during the peritonectomy experience. This includes before, during and after your hospital admission.
Having major surgery like a peritonectomy can be a very stressful experience for patients and their loved ones. It can bring up strong emotions like nervousness, fear, anger, numbness or sadness. Anxiety can often arise as many practical arrangements need to be made (e.g. work, finances, and child care), especially if you are travelling long distances to receive treatment. These are all normal responses. Everyone deals with health concerns differently; some people like lots of information and input, and others like to be left to themselves a little to process what is ahead. Whichever way of coping works for you, there is support within the hospital to make things a little easier.

Support from Social Work

The Social Worker attends the multidisciplinary case meeting on Fridays. They then meet you and your carer or family member at the pre-admission clinic, providing you with an opportunity to debrief at a time when there is a plethora of information received about treatment. The Social Worker is able to talk over the information you have been given by the doctors, allowing you to identify any gaps in knowledge which can then be fed back to the team. Practical concerns will be identified and supports and options for assistance can be followed up. The Social Worker can also discuss stress management and relaxation techniques, carer support and balancing a cancer diagnosis with everyday life. All these interventions can allow you to have more control over this experience and be more informed about the choice you are making. This process also decreases the need for many patients to be followed up extensively in the hospital setting as any concerns can be managed early before they become immediate.

During patient hospital admission

During your admission, the Social Worker can assist to provide resources which may be of benefit to you, including information on your diagnosis and supports available. They may also be involved in facilitating, arranging and participating in family conferences to discuss issues of concern to ensure that you have a good understanding of your health care plan during your admission. Another role of the Social Worker is to provide counselling for concerns including coping with an extended hospital admission, being away from home and supports, adjusting to changes in lifestyle after surgery, dealing with loss and grief, coping during a crisis, carer stress and any other relevant issues. This is always done in a confidential manner.

If you have any questions or feel like any of the above has not been addressed, please contact the Social Work Department on (02) 9113 2494 or ask the Peritonectomy CNC to make a referral. Alternatively, during your hospital admission, please ask your nurse or ward staff to contact the Social Worker.