The Medical Social Worker: A Neglected Ally in the Management of Patients with Burn Injuries

Kolawole Olubunmi Ogundipe,1 Innih Kadiri,1 Amarachukwu Chiduziem Etonyeaku,2 Tolulope Aduloju,3

  1. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgical Unit, Department of Surgery, Ekiti State University / Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

  2. General Surgery Unit, Department of Surgery, Obafemi Awolowo University & Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

  3. Department of Social Work, Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria

Correspondence to: Dr. Kolawole Olubunmi Ogundipe; email:


Burn injuries come with enormous challenges and devastation to the victims. The consequences get worse when multiple members of a family are involved. Social supports are necessary, especially where health financing is mainly through out-of-pocket expenditure. The use of Medical Social Workers (MSW) in burn care in our region is limited, and their roles are poorly or inadequately reported. This study appraises the role of MSW in the multidisciplinary management of burn patients. We report the management of an impoverished family of five who sustained varying degrees of burn injuries, and the role MSW played in their care. Beyond being a routine discharge planner, the MSW provided social support, psychotherapy and rallied community support, which translated to an improved outcome for the patients. Involving MSW in burn care provides great benefit to patients. Burn surgeons are therefore encouraged to use the added value of MSW on their teams.


Keywords: Burn, Injury, Medical social worker, Healthcare financing


Ann Afr Surg. 2020;17(3):126–129


Conflicts of Interest: None

Funding: None

© 2020 Author. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Submitted: 14 October 2019

Revised: 11 March 2020

Accepted: 30 March 2020

Online first: 29 May 2020


The Annals of African Surgery is the official publication of the Surgical Society of Kenya.


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