What is a Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker?


By: Nicole Brandon

Social Work is a profession dedicated to helping individuals, families, groups and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being. It aims to help people develop their skills and their ability to use their own resources and those of the community to resolve problems. A Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker is an expert in their field. They have the privilege to provide knowledge and skill in direct services to the patients and families. This includes conducting psychosocial assessments, coordinating care, providing counseling, intervening in client crisis situations, and educating patients and families regarding end of life, grief, bereavement and the available resources.

Hospice and palliative care social workers provide care to patients and families as an integral member of an interdisciplinary team that consists of an Registered Nurse, Chaplain, Certified Nurses Aid, Medical Director, and attending Physician. This team-oriented approach to expert medical care, aggressive pain and symptom management, and emotional and spiritual support is directly based on the patient and families’ assessed needs and expressed wishes.  At the center of hospice and palliative care is the belief that each of us has the right to live with optimal quality, die with dignity and comfort, and that our families should receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.  A hospice social worker is relied upon to be an expert in end of life care and have the skills and knowledge to manage the diverse needs of patients and families.

Some of the necessary skills a hospice social worker must possess include:

  • The ability to recognize signs and symptoms of impending death and prepare family members in a manner that is guided by clinical assessment.
  • Competence in facilitating communication among patients, family members, interdisciplinary care team members, and non-hospice care providers.
  • Competence in integrating grief theories into practice.
  • Competence in determining appropriate interventions based on assessments.
  • Competence in advocating for clients, family members, and caregivers for needed services, including pain management.
  • Competence in navigating a complex network of resources and making appropriate referrals/connections.
  • Competence in supporting patients, families, and caregivers including anticipatory grief/grieving process and bereavement.
  • Individual counseling, family counseling, family-team conferencing, and crisis counseling.
  • Information and education.
  • Multidimensional interventions related to patient and family centered care plan.
  • Resource counseling (including caregiving resources; alternate level of care options such as long term care or hospice care; financial and legal needs; advance directives; and

permanency planning for dependents).

It is a gift to be invited into the lives of our patients and families at such a special time, and we strive, along with all members of the team, to provide the most comfortable, peaceful and dignified transition possible.

If you would like more information on hospice and palliative care services please call us at 970-776-8080 or 303-957-3101, or email: info@frhospice.com


About Front Range Hospice- Legendary Care

Front Range Hospice is a center for excellence in providing end-of-life care and we continue to strive to keep our company achieving distinction. Visit us at www.frhospice.com.
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