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Communication in Palliative Social Work 

Communication in Palliative Social Work
Chapter:
Communication in Palliative Social Work
Author(s):

Myra Glajchen

and Susan B. Gerbino

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190201708.003.0006
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date: 27 January 2020

Social workers play a vital role in palliative and end-of-life care communication and bring a unique set of skills to the team, including empathic listening, assessment of the person-in-situation, dual focus on the patient and the family, communicating with healthcare teams, and care coordination with access to community resources. This chapter explores the critical role of communication in palliative social work, building upon previous seminal works related to the eight domains of palliative care and teasing out the key skills necessary to practice specialist-level social work. It highlights challenges in palliative social work, especially fragmentation within the healthcare system, healthcare financing issues that have created tension between counseling and discharge planning, and lack of evidence-based research demonstrating outcomes for social work intervention. A case narrative highlights the complexity of advance care planning across diagnosis, treatment, and end-of-life care. The chapter also offers recommendations for social work practice, research, and education.

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