Social Work

Supporting both the patient and family

Social workers are an integral part of the hospice care and palliative care interdisciplinary teams. Our social workers use a patient-focused, family-centered approach to support you, your loved ones and caregivers during a difficult time.

Providing Advocacy, Education and Support

Hospice care and palliative care involve going beyond addressing medical needs – our care includes the recognition of social, emotional and practical needs that arise when faced with a serious illness. Our social work team assists patients and their loved ones as they navigate the course of serious illness. As part of the care team, our social workers strive to understand and address each patient’s needs and wishes, while still supporting the family and caregivers.


Our Social Work Services

We are here to help and guide you. Our social workers:

  • Provide education and emotional support
  • Advocate based upon individual patient and family goals and wishes
  • Assist patients and families dealing with complex psychosocial issues
  • Facilitate and mediate patient-family meetings to provide support, guidance and coping strategies
  • Refer and connect appropriate resources and services in the community (homecare agencies, Lifeline, Meals on Wheels, etc.)
  • Help navigate insurance issues and completing Medicaid applications for long-term care needs
  • Assist with nursing home applications
  • Provide education about healthcare choices, Advance Care Planning and assist with completion of healthcare directives, such as the NYS Healthcare Proxy and MOLST (Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatments) forms

When you or a loved one choose palliative care or hospice care, the circle of support goes beyond nursing and medical needs. The social worker is part of the interdisciplinary team and assists in developing a plan of care for the patient and family.

Social workers are available to assist patients, their loved ones and caregivers in navigating the practical and emotional issues that arise during the course of serious illness. As a vital part of the team, the social worker follows the lead of the patient and family to provide counseling and resources to address individual concerns, and to support wishes.

Managing serious illness is not easy for anyone. Patients and loved ones will all experience a full of a range of emotions and will need assistance with coping strategies and support along the way. The role of the social worker involves meeting the patient and family wherever they are in their unique journey, and to assist with guidance, education and resources that help with healthcare decision-making.

Sometimes, with little warning, we are faced with caregiving responsibilities that are overwhelming. If you are caring for a loved one with serious illness, in addition to speaking with the primary care physician and/or specialists, palliative care or hospice care may be recommended.

Both palliative care and hospice care provide the support from a social worker to address emotional and social needs while managing the day-to-day stresses of caregiving. Guidance from a social worker will assist you in developing a care plan best suited to you and your family’s needs and preferences.

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Contact the Experts

Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo is here to help you navigate the challenges of serious illness. Call us today at 716-686-8077 or get in touch online. We have experts and resources to help guide you.