Social workers play a central role in holistic hospice care that addresses the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs of patients facing the end-of-life and of those who love them and are facing loss.
Social workers focus on enhancing quality of life concerns for patients, families and caregivers. Among other things:
- They help families connect with valuable community resources, including meals on wheels, in-home caregiver support and financial assistance
- They educate and inform family caregivers so they feel confident in caring for their loved one.
- They help patient and family openly discuss their fears and concerns.
- They help smooth the way when patients need to transition from one living environment to another.
- They serve as advocates for patients, helping to identify and plan so patients can achieve their end-of-life goals.
- They assist with completing advance directives, insurance claims and with funeral planning.
- They help assure that children receive the services and support they need when facing the loss of a loved one.
Social workers are knowledgeable and comfortable working with ethnic, cultural, and economic diversity. They are familiar with and can help patients and families as they navigate complex health care systems.
While accomplishing all these things, social workers also provide emotional support and understanding as families face the difficult challenge of saying goodbye and learning to live with a new ‘normal’ after the loss of a loved one.