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Information for the community, patients, and our workforce

Social work and counselling


Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) social workers are part of Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) and work across most services to assist patients and their carer/families to adjust to and manage the impact of their diagnosed medical conditions and/or injury on their life. Social workers are qualified health professionals that must be eligible for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers. 

Social work practice is underpinned by both the Social Work Code of Ethics which informs and guides ethical practice and the Social Work Practice Standards which outline practice expectations required of all Social workers.

Social workers work as part of the multidisciplinary treating team for the best outcomes for patients through:

  • psychosocial assessment
  • linking to community services
  • crisis intervention
  • counselling and therapeutic interventions including trauma counselling, grief and loss counselling and psycho- education for patients and families
  • discharge planning, including family meetings and help with aged care processes
  • carer/family support
  • education and support groups
  • advocacy
  • responding to domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and elder abuse
  • assisting with socio-legal and ethical matters.

Social work allied health assistants work alongside social workers to provide practical information and support including:

  • Centrelink paperwork
  • organisation of housing
  • practical assistance
  • financial assistance
  • community referrals.

When to see a social worker

Some of the reasons people see hospital social workers are;

  • feelings of confusion and lack of control that arise from being in hospital or having treatment
  • feelings of fear, worry, sadness, anger and loss
  • personal and relationship difficulties
  • uncertainty about the future changes that illness or age can bring
  • to discuss the effects of hospitalisation or illness on their families
  • concern about how they will manage when they go home
  • to obtain information about legal and financial support options
  • to discuss moving into a residential aged care facility
  • to discuss life changes such as withdrawal of treatment and end of life care
  • to explore carer issues and carer stress.

Availability of social workers

Services are offered during business hours, Monday to Friday.  Some services are 7 days at the RAH including Stroke, Emergency Department and Orthogeriatric clinics.

How to contact RAH social work

Tell someone from your treatment team or health professional that you want to see a social worker and give them some idea of the issues that you want to discuss.

To get in contact with the RAH, contact the Switchboard on (08) 7074 0000. They will put you through to the appropriate area.



Country patients

For information regarding transport assistance, including eligibility and application forms, see links below:

Accommodation options - RAH outpatients or family/carers for inpatients

Patient Assistance and Transport Schemes (PATS)

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