hospice social worker
Considering a career in hospice?
Hospice is often misunderstood and thought to be a place where patients go to die. Hospice, however, is a philosophy of care provided to patients with life limiting illness and takes place in various settings. It may be in a patient’s home, in a nursing home and at times in an inpatient unit or a hospital. Regardless of the setting, the hospice philosophy is always the same, to provide care to ensure the best quality of life.
Hospice care encompasses physical, spiritual and emotional support provided through interdisciplinary teams which include nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains, therapists, volunteers, and physicians. The patient and their loved ones are an integral part in the plan of care and decision are based on their wishes. Each team member has a part in the patient’s care.
The hospice RN case manager makes sure that everything is in place to carry out the care plan. This includes proper staff, equipment, supplies and medications.
The hospice Nurse is highly trained in making patient assessments and providing all necessary care to ensure proper pain and symptom management and that the patient’s needs are met.
The hospice home health aide or CNA is there to provide for the basic needs of the patient. Bathing, changing, feeding, checking of vital signs and reporting any significant changes in the patient’s condition.
The hospice social worker evaluates the needs of the patient and their family upon admission. They specialize in helping the patient and family come to terms with terminal illness and to advocate for the patient’s needs and rights. They may also act as a grief and/or bereavement counselor to the patient and their family.
The hospice chaplain can help the patient and their loved ones work through many of the whys of life and death. The chaplain is there to listen and offer spiritual support no matter the particular religious beliefs.
The hospice therapist includes a number of different disciplines i.e.; physical therapist speech-language therapist, massage therapist, music therapist. these services are provided for those hospice patients that would benefit from the therapy.
The hospice volunteer provides various services to the patient, the family and the hospice. Whether reading, letter writing or just being a friendly visitor to the patient; or sitting with the patient so the family can have a break; or serving the hospice by helping with duties in the office, the volunteer is a very important part of the team and is required by Medicare.
The hospice physician or Medical Director works in conjunction with the patient’s regular physician so that the patient receives the best care ensuring comfort and quality of life.