You are Here for All of Us, We are Here for You:
Online Social Work Services to Physicians and Nurses Working in Temporary Quarantine Hospitals in Tianjin, China
Prepared by Yang Yunjuan, Wang Miao
Department of Social Work, Tianjin University of Technology, China
With the outbreak of COVID-19, China adopted the strongest epidemic policies. Tianjin is one of the four municipalities with 15.6 million people. Besides the strictest epidemic policies and immediate treatment for confirmed cases, all residents with close contacts with confirmed cases in Tianjin were traced and placed under medical observation in temporary quarantine hospitals for at least 14 days.
In H district in Tianjin, 13 hotels were converted to temporary quarantine hospitals. All the helping teams worked 24 hours. They faced great challenges physically and mentally. To satisfy their needs, with the organization of CASWE, professors and MSW students from these universities, Tianjin University of Technology, China Youth University of Political Studies, Shandong University, worked with local government and NGOs to implement the “You are Here for All of Us, We are here for You” Heartwarming Support Service Project to provide online services in all 13 temporary hospitals. The project involved 44 volunteers with social work or psychology backgrounds, and mainly provided WeChat-based and hotline counselling services.
WeChat-based Supportive Services
WeChat is the most popularly-used social media in China, and commonly used in online education and service delivery. Based on needs assessments, the Tianjin Project established WeChat groups for every temporary quarantine hospital. At least one professor in social work and one psychologist cooperated to run a group. At a fixed time every day, information and skills in specific topics were shared in groups. Topics included pressure relief, mental health wellbeing, partner and parent-child relationships. The team was on 24-hour duty and provided direct services at any time necessary. Until now, we have provided WeChat-based services for over 20 weeks.
Hotline Counselling Services
Clients may encounter urgent problems but don’t share in WeChat groups. Therefore, we established a hotline to provide individual counselling. All the physicians, nurses and residents in quarantine received explanatory leaflets that included the hotline number when they were admitted. They could pick up the phone to call us whenever needed. The social worker or psychologist on-duty would provide counselling services. Until now, more than 20 cases received hotline counselling services.
All team members work from home and have no direct contact with residents in quarantine. However, they are in great need. We prepared a full list of resources and documented them in a WeChat public account. An image code was generated and printed on the leaflet given to residents. They can scan the code and get access to the self-support resources, which can solve common problems.
Tianjin Project started on Jan 25, and provided 7771.3 hours services until 16 July, and is still continuing. We combined China’s local experience with social work methods and pioneered a new online social work service model.
Pictures of parts of Tianjin Project team members