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Social work in the Spinal Injuries Unit

10 December 2021

PA Hospital Social Work makes a noticeable difference in the lives of patients recovering from spinal injuries in collaboration with The Hopkins Centre. 

PA Hospital Advanced Social Worker and Clinical Team Leader, Meghan Nolan, plays a key part in the safe, timely and supported discharge of patients in the Spinal Injuries Unit and is also invested in contributing to research for rehabilitation and resilience. Meghan is described by colleagues as the glue for patients and their care teams.

In her many years at PA Hospital, she and her team have helped patients and their support persons, to navigate the systems available for adapting to a new way of life. For Meghan building relationships with patients, supporting them to set goals and seeing them achieve those goals makes her proud to be part of the interdisciplinary team within the Spinal Injuries Rehabilitation Service at PAH.

“My favourite part of the job is being able to work alongside patients and families during such a life-changing event; seeing them progress through their rehabilitation and get back to their (new) life,” Meghan said.

Meghan’s collaboration with colleagues from the Division of Rehabilitation and the Hopkins Centre to ensure NDIS pathways operate effectively in the hospital setting has seen patients transition back to the community after complex admissions feeling confident and supported. 

“Our next project is looking at the care and support after discharge for patients who are 65 years  and older when they sustain a disability. Compared to people under 65, this support is significantly less which can create barriers in their ability to transition to home instead of entering the residential aged care system.

“This project is in its early stages but we aim to highlight the inequities of this increasing patient cohort and hopefully work with government and community stakeholders to simplify processes and advocate for some changes to increase equitable access to care,” she said.

Meghan says that working in Queensland's Spinal Injuries Rehabilitation Service at PA Hospital , offers social workers the opportunity to apply their unique skills in a complex clinical setting. "We guide patients to safe, timely and supported discharge; but also support patients and their families through the psychosocial complexity of this unexpected life-altering, traumatic event which comes with a lengthy rehab admission."

“Working in this setting is intense and can be really challenging, but it is also very rewarding.”

Last updated 10 December 2021
Last reviewed 10 December 2021

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