The Hospice is committed to family-centered care and support. Our palliative care social workers, can offer a wide variety of support to a patient, carers and loved ones.
This can include sourcing practical help at home, accessing other services, help with housing advocacy, working with schools or employers, or offering psychosocial support.
Our palliative care social workers also provide a range of therapeutic interventions depending on a person’s need and can often work with groups as well as individuals. They recognise that family members including children and young people play an expert role in supporting their loved ones as they cope with the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of their illness. Sometimes talking through feelings and receiving timely support and information can be helpful to carers and young carers, and our team can assist with issues that matter to them.
The team have a keen interest in working alongside people with lived experience and including others in how we shape our services and practice for the future. We undertake work around helping people to prepare for the end of their lives through advance care planning and psychosocial interventions.
They can also provide bereavement support for families and individuals who need more specialist support following a death.
Here Jill one of our Palliative Care Social Worker shares what a day in her role looks like:
My day starts with a discussion with the clinical team about the people we will be contacting that day. My first appointment is with a gentleman who is grieving the death of his wife of 53 years. The bereavement session at the hospice gives him the chance to express his feelings, and through the course of the session he reveals feelings of self-blame and guilt, (which can be common feelings after someone dies) due to unresolved issues with his wife. Within the safe space and confidentiality of our session he was able to explore and make sense of his feelings which had weighed heavily on him for many months.
My next appointment was a visit to a young mother’s home. The woman had been given a life-limiting diagnosis and wanted advice on how to break the news to her young children. Within a trusting relationship I was able to support her to tell her children the devastating news in an age appropriate way. I was also able to assist her in planning for her children’s future care needs.
Later, a meeting with a patient’s wife allowed me to understand her needs and worries, not only as a wife but also as a carer for her husband. The importance of addressing the needs of carers and other family members is an important part of Hospice work as we acknowledge that carers are the ‘experts’ when it comes to the care of their loved ones, and their involvement can be critical to good overall patient care and support.