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Discovering Strengths and Growth in Palliative Care 

Discovering Strengths and Growth in Palliative Care
Discovering Strengths and Growth in Palliative Care
Oxford Textbook of Palliative Social Work

Susan Cadell

, Sheryl Shermak

, and Meaghen Johnston


This textbook on palliative social work is a companion volume to the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine and the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Nursing. To that end, this chapter will accomplish the following:

Palliative social workers have an important role to play in identifying strengths and positive outcomes in patients and family members.

Practicing palliative social work with a strengths perspective acknowledges that, along with negatives, positive changes can take place for patients, families, and for professionals.

Of the various models that focus on positive aspects of the negative situations, the strengths perspective and posttraumatic growth are the most applicable in palliative care.

Posttraumatic growth includes the five domains of: new possibilities, relating to others, personal strength, appreciation of life, and spiritual change.

Strengths and growth can emerge at any time along the illness continuum.

Social workers are encouraged to be open to strengths as little is known about facilitating positive aspects.

Positive aspects of stressful life circumstances do not replace the negative aspects: positive and negative states coexist.

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