Friday, April 8, 2011
WHEN AN APOLOGY IS NOT ENOUGH
Every now and then we find out about program/service that is so extraordinary, either because it is so focused on a population that has not been visibly served or so potentially controversial that folks may be worried about its implications, that it deserves some special coverage with the social work community. This recently happened when I was visited in the office by Ms. Linda Kenney, President/Executive Director of MITSS. She had been directed my way by one of the Directors of Social Work at a major teaching hospital in Boston who ongoing continually uses the MITSS services. The MITSS (Medically Induced Trauma Support Services) program is one such program.
Every social worker should know about this service, not only for their professional practice but also for their family’s’, friends’ and neighbors’ well- being. I will take some language from the program’s written materials to adequately convey the purpose and value of this service.
Medically induced trauma is an unexpected outcome that occurs during medical and/or surgical care. These events may affect the emotional well- being of the patient and/or family members. It is different from other types of traumas for several reasons: patients and their families may feel isolated because hospitals often are not set up to provide emotional support beyond the hospital stay; the trust between the care giver and the patient has been breached or, patients may feel vulnerable because they will need continued care within the same system that harmed them.
As a result of the medically induced trauma, patients can experience a whole range of serious emotional effects, immediately or even weeks or months later after the harmed experience.
This is where the MITSS program comes in by offering extensive therapeutic educational support groups for patients and their families as well as hotline availability where support and encouragement are always available. In addition, the program works with medical organizations to provide education and process improvement.
This is truly a valuable niche service- especially during those times when an apology from the medical and surgical team is not enough.
You can find out more about the program at: www.mitss.org
Carol J. Trust