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Social work on the emergency floor

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Working on the emergency floor at Worthing Hospital requires a proactive approach, excellent communication skills and the ability to prioritise.

West Sussex social workers are a vital part of the multidisciplinary work. They ensure a focus on regaining independence and prevention.

Hospital is often not the best place for social care assessments. When appropriate, the team can ‘discharge to assess’ in short term residential placements. The team aims to get people home on the same day or (if not) the day after. This helps to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions. Thus reducing the risk of infection and preventing a reduction in physical abilities.


Mrs X was admitted in January having been unwell for 24 hours. She'd had an upset stomach for some time. She lives alone in a flat, has a careline, and some care and support at home. Mrs X has impaired vision and also normally uses a frame to move about. On the emergency floor she was independent getting out of bed or from a chair. But she needed guiding to the toilet due to her visual loss. Mrs X cooks for herself at home but due to her upset stomach she had not been eating well.

The social worker met with Mrs X and her family on the ward. Mrs X still felt weak and did not feel able to go home. She wanted to be looked after so she could regain her strength.

Mrs X agreed to a temporary move to a ‘Discharge to Assess’ bed. This gave her time to regain her strength and independence. It also gave time for input from an occupational therapist and further assessment. The assessment identified the support Mrs X needed to return home safely. After four weeks, she went home with a slightly higher level of support.

Last updated:
26 June 2019