14 October 2019
In this exclusive behind the scenes with CNA Insider, Melissa Chew, Principal Medical Social Worker from the Department of Care and Counselling, TTSH, was featured. Besides knowing that MSW does financial counselling, providing emotional support and therapy services to patients and family members, little did we know that part of helping to cope with death could also mean tracking down dead or dying patients’ next-of-kin so that families can reconcile with the patient for the last time.
Melissa clarified that death and bereavement cases make up on only 20 per cent of her work. Having been an MSW for 16 years, Melissa finds helping all these families very meaningful and exciting as she has no idea what is going to happen, every single day.
However, good feelings aside, a MSW has to have a lot of tenacity and patience to convince and gather fractured families who may have cut ties with the patients to come forward - sometimes as little time as 48 hours.
“Nobody should die alone”, that is what Melissa and her counterparts feel very strongly about. She said, “It is in the sense that I couldn’t save life — I can’t undo that — but at least I can make the last journey of that patient respectable and dignified."