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Social Workers Role In End Of Life Care

791 words - 4 pages

Thanks in part to the scientific and technological advances of todays’ society, enhanced medicinal treatment options are helping people battle illnesses and diseases and live longer than ever before. Despite these advances, however, many people with life threatening illnesses have needs and concerns that are unidentified and therefore unmet at the end of life, notes Arnold, Artin, Griffith, Person and Graham (2006, p. 62). They further noted that when these needs and concerns remain unmet, due in part to the failure of providers to correctly evaluate these needs, as well as the patients’ reluctance to discuss them (p. 63, as originally noted by Heaven & Maguire, 1997), a patient’s quality ...view middle of the document...

In completing an accurate and thorough evaluation, a compassionate, therapeutic relationship with the client can be formed. Such relationship supports the social worker’s role in assisting the client and family, not only in identifying unique concerns and needs, but also by providing valuable education, advocating for self-determination and facilitating communication within the interdisciplinary team. This is beneficial to the patient and their families because social workers typically possess a plethora of knowledge “regarding health and social systems, individual and family dynamics, cultural diversity, grief and loss, communication, advocacy, ethics, and interdisciplinary practice” (Bosma et al., (2010, p. 79-80). Wesley (1996) states that advocating for the clients’ right to self-determination and providing education may involve several components, including pain and symptom management, understanding and deciding on options for treatment, providing assistance with the completion of advanced health care directives and funeral arrangements, and identifying religious dynamics that may be of importance to the client. According to Christ and Blacker (nd) and the Council on Social Work Education, each of these elements are an essential part of the social workers’ role in enhancing end of life care on an individual and family level.
On a societal level, a social worker’s role is no less essential. From a position on ethics committees, to advocating for policies and laws that are cognizant of the diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, religious and...

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