Introductory Guide to Hospice and Palliative Care Social Work
By Kaitlin Louie
Hospice and palliative care settings provide medical care, pain management services and treatments, as well as psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual support to patients across the age spectrum who are suffering from severely debilitating conditions or terminal diagnoses. Patients who require hospice care and their families can experience a number of severe hardships, such as depression, anger, and anxiety, intense physical pain or discomfort, financial strain, social isolation, and family conflict.
Hospice social workers help both patients and their families navigate the difficult process of end-of-life planning; manage the mental, emotional, familial, and monetary stressors of debilitating physical illness; understand their treatment plan and be vocal about their needs; overcome crisis situations; and connect to other support services in the area. Hospice workers are advocates for patients and their families, and possess a deep knowledge of what their clients need and what resources are available within and outside of hospice settings to help them.
Hospice and palliative services are delivered, not only at hospice centers, but also through in-home care services and palliative care departments of hospitals. Hospice and palliative care social workers can work in one or more of these settings; for instance, they might conduct home visits to help patients and their families with establishing effective palliative care in patients’ homes, while also providing services to visitors of hospice centers and following up with terminally ill patients who must visit the hospital for intensive medical care.
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Compiler: Fateme Mohammady
Published on the specialized media of Iranians social work