As someone with a life-limiting illness, you may be familiar with the term “palliative care”. Palliative care is a type of specialized medical care that aims to improve the quality of life of patients facing life-limiting illnesses by providing relief from symptoms such as pain, stress, and anxiety. Palliative care is not just about managing physical symptoms, but it also addresses psychological, social, and spiritual needs.
Social workers are an integral part of palliative care teams, and they play a vital role in ensuring that patients’ human rights are protected. Social workers are trained professionals who specialize in helping patients and their loved one’s cope with the challenges associated with a life-limiting illness. They work with patients, families, loved ones and other healthcare professionals to provide holistic care that considers the whole person and their unique needs.
Emotional and Psychological Support
Social workers in palliative care provide emotional and psychosocial support to patients and their loved ones, which can help improve their quality of life. They help patients navigate complex healthcare systems, access community resources, and advocate for their rights. Social workers also assist with awareness around end-of-life decision-making, including advanced care planning and living wills. In addition to providing psychological support to patients, their families and loved ones who are grappling with questions around terminal illness, the social work team also provides grief and bereavement support to the newly bereft.
As part of their role, social workers in the palliative care space, help to protect patients’ human rights. They help ensure that patients receive appropriate care, including pain management, and that their wishes and preferences are respected. Social workers advocate for patient autonomy, ensuring that patients have the right to make decisions about their healthcare and treatment options.
Social workers also play a critical role in preventing and addressing instances of abuse or neglect. They work to identify and address issues related to patient safety, dignity, and respect. Additionally, social workers advocate for vulnerable populations, such as those who may face discrimination or barriers to accessing healthcare.
Social workers are a crucial part of palliative care teams, and they play a vital role in protecting patient’s human rights. This Social Worker’s Month we thank our dedicated team for their service to our patient community.