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Social Work Month - Empowering Social Workers

Empowering Social Workers is this year’s theme for Social Work Month.  Celebrated each year during the month of March, it is a time to highlight the vital services provided by social workers in a variety of roles. 

Social Workers in hospice are an integral part of the team.  Caring for hospice patients is not just tending to their physical needs, but also psycho-socially and spiritually. 

When facing a life-limiting illness, patients often find themselves losing their abilities and independence to accomplish basic tasks. What may begin as a physical limitation due to a diagnosis, often develops into an emotional struggle.  It is the social worker who has the resources to help the patient with coping mechanisms as they work though their challenge.  

Social workers advocate for their patients, while also assisting the patient’s caregivers. By entering into each visit with an open mind and the ability to guide conversation, the social worker listens intently to their patient knowing that what they hear may identify other opportunities to help.  

It’s essential for this team member to take a proactive approach, gathering information early on in case it is needed later when decision making may be more difficult due to emotional or cognitive barriers.  The hospice social worker may also play a key role in facilitating the difficult end of life conversations helping patients and their loved ones move forward to the point where they can make the most of their time together. 

Social workers are the helpers navigating through the challenges so that the patient can realize quality of life, resolution, and peace despite a poor prognosis. Aside from being a good listener, there’s a multitude of ways social workers can help including coordinating care through financial hardships, interpreting documents, assisting with paperwork, coordinating placement, guiding decisions in funeral arrangements, providing emotional guidance and offering practical help during what is often perceived as an emotionally fragile time. 

 Have questions on hospice? Call our education line at 412.710.7300.


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