Many people wonder what a Hospice social worker does. The Hospice social worker is a trained professional who can offer a variety of services to residents, family and close friends. Coming to Hospice can be a difficult transition for people. There is a sense of finality; the last stop on this journey called life. Each person approaches death in their own way and it is this uniqueness that speaks to how the social worker approaches their work with each resident.
As part of the Hospice team they provide a reassuring presence to the resident and their support network in many different ways:
- Listens, assesses and evaluates any concerns or perceptions the resident may have, encouraging the resident to express his or her wishes, needs and fears.
- Advocates on their behalf, helping everyone to work through and understand many of the changes that occur as the resident’s health declines.
- Assists the resident to develop a plan of care including psychological, emotional and spiritual needs and any and all community resources necessary to make informed decisions about such things as: funeral arrangements, financial or legal matters or survivor benefits, ensuring that no one is excluded.
- Helps to prepare residents, families and other significant others with knowledge of what they can generally anticipate about the dying process. Most important is talking about and normalizing the kaleidoscope of emotions that people have during this difficult time.
- Oversees potential residents who are on a wait list. A weekly or bi-weekly call is made to each person to determine how they are feeling, if they have any questions and if there have been any changes that need to be addressed.
- Assists family and close friends who are experiencing the waves of emotional distress just prior to or after their loved one has died. The social worker makes follow-up calls to some families to see how a spouse or other loved one is coping after the death and offers short-term counselling for those in need after their loss.
- Provides education to volunteers and staff on such topics as compassion, fatigue and healthy caregiving.
For more information please contact our social worker, Rosalind Forster, MSW, RSW at 613.938.2763 Ext: 142