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World Social Work Day: Why Social Workers Matter in End of Life Care.

Our Director of Quality and Care is thrilled at a new publication that supports and promotes the role of social workers in end of life care. We'll let her explain why... 
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Awesome - I am chuffed to see the launch of the publication titled 'The role of social workers in palliative care, end of life care and bereavement care'

Published by the Association of Palliative Care Social Workers, the document was produced in collaboration with a number of partners, including Hospice UK and the British Association of Social Workers.      

Why am I so delighted, I hear you ask.    
  
Those who know me will know how strongly I feel about ensuring everyone receives the very best end of life care. Having previously launched the 'Supporting people to live and die well' framework with Margaret Holloway - a publication that outlined the role of social workers in palliative care - I welcome further recognition and support of social workers.      
Cicely Saunders herself saw the importance of the role of the social worker in addressing people's issues and 'total pain' and end of life, and it's something she nurtured in her hospice movement drive.     

the-walk-on-group (cropped) the-walk-on-group (cropped)

Social workers have long been engrained within hospices; their role is highly skilled and complex. However, this is something I feel has long been misunderstood; people simply do not know the extent of their role or how crucial they are in supporting the care plans for both individuals and their carers.       

In contrast, people well understand what doctors and nurses do. But if I told you that our social workers give social, spiritual and psychosocial support, would you be surprised? Our social workers help people and those important to them come to terms with the enormity of facing their (or their loved one's) approaching end of life. They can advise on housing and finance. They are counsellors and often advocates between systems that individuals can find hugely confusing. They are leads on safeguarding and DoLS issues. They provide bereavement support and guidance for carers, be they adults or children.      

All of this is made clear in the publication. The range and depth of the contributions social workers make to end of life care are there, in black and white for everyone to see.  

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Last year's carers tea party, organised by our social workers.

This document is also fantastic because it provides guidance and information to social workers in the community, who may not deal with end of life as regularly as our palliative care social workers.      

The publication recognises the principles of dignity and respect that we passionately advocate. It promotes methods of working such as involving the individuals in their own care and reminds readers that palliative end of life care is for families, carers and loved ones, too.      

It'll help social workers to be ready to support people who are dying or bereaved. This is something I will always support, as I hope it will help us continue towards our goal of excellent end of life care for all.      

We have an awesome social work team, one to be immensely proud of in terms of their commitment skills and knowledge.     

From a very proud director... (and of course, a registered social worker!).    

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Tes Smith is one of an impressive list of authors who contributed to the book: Pathways Through Care at End of Life: A Guide to Person Centred Care, which includes good communication and assembly models. Yep, we're proud of our director!  

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