Patients and their families who are affected by terminal illness are confronted by a number of difficulties which may include family conflict, unresolved relationships, depression, anger, and anxiety. Added to this are worries about practical issues such as financial strain, employment, future care, and care of minor children in the family. It is important to note that our social workers do not remove children, but that they work together with families to ensure timeous planning for the care of potential orphans and vulnerable children. Should children be in need of alternative care, our social workers refer to child and family welfare organisations in the area for further follow-up and intervention.
It can be traumatic for the patient and their family to accept their circumstances and continue the difficult process of end-of-life planning for their loved one. Our professional palliative care social workers are highly trained and experienced, with a wealth of knowledge and skill, while their true worth lays in their caring hearts. As valued members of our interdisciplinary team, they represent the patient and family’s wishes at every team meeting. Their goal is to ensure that each family receives care that is tailored to fit their particular needs. Their services include:
- Personal and family counselling.
- Future care planning for patients.
- Care planning and support for vulnerable children.
- Spiritual care and support.
- Access to community resources and other specialised agencies.
- Assistance with documentation such as birth certificates, identity documents, state grants and pensions.
- Referrals for assistance with legal documents such as power of attorney, last wills.
- Co-ordination of support groups for patients.
- Co-ordination of the bereavement support service.
Their work involves helping people through some of the most vulnerable, stressful and difficult times of their lives. The rewards however, are great, walking side by side with the patient and their family results in profound connections being made, in the sharing and celebrating of significant moments in their lives, and in having a hugely positive impact during adverse times. Intrinsic to Helderberg Hospice care is the belief that, despite illness and loss, there is also a remarkable opportunity for self-awareness, change and growth for the patient and their family and this remains a primary focus in the work our social workers do.