It is pretty impossible to talk about hospice and not make mention of social workers. This is because of the duty of the social workers to hospice centers. Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives. The clinical social workers also diagnose and treat mental, behavioral, and emotional issues. Hospice centers provide medical care; psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual support; and pain management treatments and services to patients suffering from debilitating conditions or terminal diagnoses mostly caused by old age.
Over 2 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in hospice care. The constant increase in the number of Medicare beneficiaries in hospice centers consequently increases the need for hospice social workers. Hospice social workers perform various duties which help hospice patients and their families navigate planning for end-of-life care. The role of a social worker is pivotal to the effective functioning of hospice centers. In most hospice centers, each patient is assigned a social worker to be a member of the interdisciplinary team to developing a plan of care for the patient and family. A social worker offers comfort, care, and counsel to the patient and their families. The relationship between social workers and hospice centers can’t be overemphasized because of the numerous important role plays in hospice care. Social workers are a valuable addition to the hospice care team. They bring calmness and open-mindedness to difficult situations through empathy, advocacy, and care.
Here are some of the significant roles of social workers in hospice centers:
1. Offer Care And Comfort To Patient And Family
Social workers at hospice centers offer end-of-life care to the patient and their families. These involve assisting them in understanding their treatment plan and their needs; managing the stresses of their physical illnesses, such as emotional, familial, and financial; overcoming crises; and connecting to other support services. Hospice workers speak in the interest of patients and their families, know what their clients need and what resources are available within and outside of hospice settings to cater to these needs.
2. Offers Practical Help
Social workers provide practical help to patients and families. They help them get medical equipment like a hospital bed delivered to the home, procure patients drugs, access legal resources for needs like obtaining power of attorney and advance directives, or finding caregiving support to assist family members. Social workers also offer counsel to patients’ families on how to treat patients in their absence. The family’s advice depends on the patient’s health, peculiar challenges, or physical illness.
3. Post-Dead Arrangements
Hospice social workers also help patient’s families plan beyond the end-of-life care and needs. Social workers assist the patient’s family through post-death arrangements, including advising about the funeral home, paperwork, and other sensitive concerns.
4. Emotional Help
Emotional assistance is one essential service that social workers offer hospice center. It is expedient because the patient and family need substantial emotional support. The social workers help the families manage stress, understand the process of dying, anticipate and cope with grief. Also, social workers may offer psychological support to the patient.
In conclusion, social workers are the spend the most crucial hours with patients. Though it may be a short period, it requires a great deal of emotion. The social workers play the pivotal role of keeping the patient’s families safe in the present moment.