Social Work in the hospice and palliative care setting is the professional practice of helping those people diagnosed with a serious or life-limiting illness, their family systems, groups and communities to understand the multiple dimensions of dying and bereavement. Social Work achieves this goal through counseling, referral, advocacy, and by working to enhance the environment.
- Supervised by: Patient Care Coordinator and Social Work Director.
- Supervises: Social Work students as needed/requested.
- Works closely with: All hospice staff.
- Required: Bachelors or Masters of Social Work from a school accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and licensed as a social worker according to State and Federal requirements.
- Required: Previous home care experience or 1 year of health care related social work experience.
- Licensed, Certifications and/or Registrations:
- Current driver’s license
- Proof of current automobile liability insurance
- Certificate of liability with limits of 100/300/100.
- Required Training:
- Attend any mandatory training required to maintain current Social Work license according to state guidelines.
- Specialized Knowledge and Skills:
- Continually explore, evaluate and update community resources
- Collaborate with the community agencies and organizations to provide/develop/access programs and services for patients and families.
- Advocate for hospice care within the community.
- Advocate for patients and families with members of the team.
- Speak up professionally/concisely in team meetings.
- Engage in positive problem solving, role modeling effective and assertive communication.
- Seek to teach and inform team members, agency personnel, volunteers and community members about the role of the hospice social worker.
- Serve as a resource for the agency and team members.
- Complete initial assessments, including gathering data on the social, economic and cultural factors which may influence health status.
- The social worker will provide information, initial counseling, discussion of fears and concerns, conduct family meetings to address conflicting agendas, clarify hospice goals and begin establishing a therapeutic relationship.
- The social worker will assess and treat pain from a psychosocial perspective. The social worker will conduct a thorough assessment of the multidimensional factors related to pain.
- The social worker will explore the meaning of the pain for the person who is ill and for those involved in the care and/or decisions regarding pain management and intervention.
- The social worker will discuss the critical nature of self-determination in pain management. The social worker will provide skill development and/or resources for non-medical approaches to pain management such as relaxation and breath control, aromatherapy and music, distraction and reminiscence.
- The social worker will assist in developing goals/interventions for other stressors that may exacerbate pain such as financial concerns, unfinished business, unresolved family conflict, strained relationships or communication.
- The social worker will serve as a resource on managing the psychosocial issues related to challenging cases.
- The social worker will assess and intervene in coordinating financial resources/assistance to include applying for Medicare/ Medicaid/VA assistance.
- The social worker will assess for complicated grief and risk factors and provide and/or refer for appropriate intervention.
- The social worker will assess caregiver needs.
- The social worker will assess home, environment and safety needs.
- The social worker will assess immediate and long term needs including placement options, establishing POAs, living wills, and DNRs.
- The social worker will identify the gaps between what is needed and what is available.
- The social worker will familiarize the patient/family with the role of hospice and the role of the team.
- The social worker will familiarize the patient/family with the dying process from a psychosocial perspective.
- The social worker will assist the patient/family in developing their plan of care and assure they are in agreement with and understand their plan, their role in achieving their plan and your role in assisting them in achieving their goals.
- The social worker will familiarize the patient/family with what to expect and how to prepare for the time of death to include assistance with funeral planning as needed/requested.
- The social worker will assess for mental and/or behavioral disorders.
- The social worker will provide counseling, information, internal/external resources and/or other interventions as appropriate and as applicable to the terminal illness and the dying/bereavement process.
- The social worker will assess for coping strategies related to previous losses.
- The social worker will assess for unique spiritual/cultural beliefs/traditions that may influence patient care.
- The social worker will provide age appropriate education/intervention for pediatric patients.
- The social worker will assess for abuse/neglect/exploitation and report accordingly.
- The social worker will maintain confidentiality.
- The social worker will complete all documentation timely and appropriately using medical social service forms in the electronic medical record per agency policy.
- The social worker will assist with presentation of in-service education.
- The social worker will perform other related duties as assigned.
- Must be able to perform limited, full range medium work requiring sitting, standing, walking and driving.
- Must possess vision, hearing, feeling, physical strength and dexterity necessary to perform all the duties of the Hospice Social Worker.
- Must be able to climb stairs, access and operate elevators and access patient’s homes which may not have conventional access accommodations.
- Must be able to maneuver on all types of terrain.
- Must be able to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.
- Must be able to give and receive instructions and information, both in person and via telephone.
- Work requires exerting force of up to 50 pounds occasionally, and/or up to 25 pounds frequently, and/or up to 10 pounds constantly in moving objects or materials.