social workers role in end of life care

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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 of life may be adversely affected. According to Bosma et al. (2010, p. 84), “Many generalist social work skills regarding counseling, family systems, community resources, and psychosocial assessments are relevant to working with patients and families with terminal illness”, thereby placing social workers in the distinctive position of being able to support and assist clients with end of life decisions and care planning needs. In fact, they further noted that at some point, “most social work practitioners will encounter adults, children, and families who are facing progressive life limiting illness, dying, death, or bereavement” (p. 79). Caring for an individual who is facing a life threatening illness is often completed by a multidimensional team, including doctors, nurses, therapists, and caregivers, as well as family members. Social workers are an integral part of this team, since they are usually the healthcare workers that are involved in the evaluation and assessment of patients and their family members’ needs and concerns at the end ... ... middle of paper ... ...icine, 24(1), 79–87. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases. Christ, G., & Blacker, S. E. (nd). Social Work’s unique Contribution to Palliative Care. Council on Social Work Education, CWSE Gero-Ed Center, National Center for Gerontological Social Work Education. Retrieved from Code of Ethics of the National Association of Social Workers (2008). Retrieved from: NASW Standards for Social Work Practice in Palliative and End of Life Care. (2014). Retrieved from Wesley, C. A. (1996). Social Work and End-of-Life Decisions: Self-Determination and the Common Good. Health & Social Work, 21(2), 115. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

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