What does a hospice medical social worker provide? 

The hospice social worker addresses any and everything needed by a patient or a family that is non-medical, from grief counseling to repairing a screen door ( or finding the resources for both). Upon admission of a patient to hospice care, the social worker begins an assessment of needs and resources in the family to compliment and accompany the work of the nurses and physicians in a holistic approach to end-of-life care. The mission of the social worker is as wide as the range of needs in any particular family. In an internet article on death and dying, Angela Morrow, RN, describes the role of the social worker in a hospice setting.  

To paraphrase, the hospice social worker does not impose any particular agenda, but provides support to facilitate the patient’s wishes. The social worker begins the work with an evaluation of needs and continues with the task by educating families about what to expect and how to accept their unique emotional responses to their situation.  Reactions of fear, anxiety and grief can be overwhelming.  The social worker can help the patient or family member deal constructively with their feelings.  The social worker advocates for the patient to have their final wishes respected.   

Throughout the course of hospice care, the social worker participates in what can be called a sacred journey with the patients and their families. They often discuss difficult topics with the patients that no one else wants to discuss.   A social worker’s most important gift to the patient may be simply to provide bedside comfort during the dying process - not to guide the journey but to join the patient as they travel their final path.  Kate Jackson authored and article entitled Transitions to Hospice Care — Social Workers Foster Meaningful Conversations About Dying  which deals with some of the issues of waiting too late to choose hospice care and discusses the social worker's role in that discussion.  To read the full article, click here. In addition to the emotional and spiritual needs, here are some other areas a social worker might address along with some helpful contact information.

Practical Needs for the Family

Referrals to meals on wheels:

Navarro County - (903)641-0166

Limestone County - (254)739-3541             

Freestone County - (903)839-5800             

Locating sitters and/or housekeepers for patients and caregivers         

Locating resources for home repairs including Christmas In Action 

Financial Needs

Assistance with prescription drugs - http://www.prescriptionassistance360.org

Financial assistance for medical needs of caregiversApplications for financial assistanceMedicaid, Food stamps and other programs - https://www.yourtexasbenefits.com

Family Services, 517 N. Commerce, Corsicana, Texas (903)874-4971

Community Services, Corsicana, Texas (903)872-2401

Aged, Disabled Resource Center 

Referrals to local church and community resources 

Advanced Directives (links to forms) 

Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates

Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services

Medical Power of Attorney 

Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services

Out of Hospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) 

Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services