Social Work is a core service on hospice care teams. Social workers on our interdisciplinary teams help empower and support patients and their families to enhance or restore psychological, emotional, spiritual, social and physical health by increasing their ability to cope. They are available to provide a sounding board for thoughts and questions or just to listen during this challenging period. Our social workers are trained to provide assistance at the end of life by providing a service that is in keeping with your family’s culture, ethnicity, customs and religious beliefs. Social Workers may assist you in these areas:
Our social workers communicate frequently with your nurse to assure comfort is maintained at all times. They have training in a wide variety of relaxation and stress reduction techniques that may enhance physical and emotional comfort.
Psychological and Emotional Stress
Anyone dealing with serious illness is under stress. Coping with psychological and emotional stresses, such as anxiety, guilt, or depression can be difficult at this time. Our social workers are skilled at helping to manage these experiences through counseling, education and support. Social workers facilitate communication between family members as the family learns to respond to the changing needs of their loved one. Our social workers may also assess and assist with respite care, long-term care, assisted living and volunteer needs.
Advance Care Planning
Social workers can help patients and families discuss decisions about future medical treatments or interventions and to write these wishes down to ensure they are respected.
Difficult choices may arise during this period such as when considering the withdrawal or withholding of certain treatments. Our social workers are skilled problem-solvers and can facilitate a pathway to find solutions that address the needs of each family.
Financial concerns are often a significant issue at the end life. Negotiating the healthcare, social service, and other complex systems can feel overwhelming. Our social workers are knowledgeable at helping people navigate these systems.
Our social workers can assess your environment to ensure that it continues to meet your changing needs.
Helping Children Cope
Social workers attend to the needs of our patients’ children and grandchildren, helping them to understand illness and the dying process in an age-appropriate way.
Adapted from How Social Workers Help