Did you know that March is National Social Worker Month? We wanted to take a moment to commemorate social workers in honor of the occasion as they play such a large role in what we do.
What is a Social Worker?
Social workers are in charge of placing patients into appropriate care–and they often turn to hospice care providers to do so.
A Social Worker’s Role in Hospice Care
Social workers are an integral part of a patient’s hospice team, serving as advocates for their patients. The social workers at Kansas Palliative & Hospice Care are frontline healthcare officials. They spend time with patients and their families in order to gain a deep understanding of any underlying emotional and psychosocial needs and dynamics.
Social workers in hospice care act as the eyes, ears, sounding board, and confidants for their patients and their families. While providing guidance, resources, and intervention when end-of-life symptoms, diagnoses, or circumstances arise or change.
Social workers also make sure every member of a patient’s team, from the doctor to the chaplain to the volunteer, always have the patient and their family’s end-of-life wishes and preferences at the top of mind to support sound patient-centered care.
But, perhaps the most important duty that a social worker in hospice care takes on is being the facilitator of end-of-life discussions. The social worker will speak with the patient and their family about advance directives and living wills, and they often help them talk about, document and agree on goals of care that are shaped by their wishes and preferences. Social workers act as a conduit between doctors, patients, and families to ensure that frank and honest discussions take place about sensitive but necessary topics, including feeding tubes and medications, DNR orders decisions burial vs. cremation, and more.
National Social Work Month is the perfect time to recognize the many roles, responsibilities, and duties social workers perform daily for hospice patients, families, and healthcare professionals. Thank you to our hospice social workers!