Navigating the healthcare system, elder care options, and community resources can be confusing in the best of times and almost impossible when someone is already dealing with a serious illness. Wouldn’t it be great if there was someone who would come to you and help put a plan in place that is specific to your needs? At Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care, this is the role of the palliative care social worker.
Every patient who begins palliative care services has a nurse practitioner and a social worker assigned to them. The nurse practitioner works with the patient’s physicians to address their physical symptoms, while the social worker is a bridge builder to additional resources.
The Role of the Palliative Care Social Worker
When a patient begins palliative care, the social worker will assess their needs and work with the patient and their family to assure those needs are being met. Palliative care social workers assist with finding additional therapies the patient may need and engaging the services of home health aides if they are required.
Palliative care social workers also help to connect patients to resources in the community or Veteran benefits that may be available for them. Some examples are helping the patient apply for community resources like Meals on Wheels, adult day care centers, or paratransit. Social workers can also assist in navigating The United States Department of Veterans Affairs programs that provide assistance to Veterans and/or their spouses.
Palliative Care social workers also assist patients with making sure all of their healthcare paperwork is in order. They can walk patients through advance directives, do not resuscitate (DNR) orders, and how to set up a medical power of attorney.
Many patients and families also work with their palliative care social worker to plan for the future through burial and funeral planning and exploring alternative options including cremation and body donation.
Palliative care social workers are a guiding light for patients as they navigate their healthcare journey. To learn more about palliative care programs and services, please call us at 1-888-564-3405.
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