We are developing a model of integrated palliative work with adults’ and children’s social work and between the hospice. This currently involves a local authority and hospice alongside schools and children’s therapeutic services. Research acknowledges (supported by feedback at a local level), that social workers do not feel equipped to support people who are dying or bereaved. The reality is that often practitioners have not thought of their own mortality despite increasingly supporting service users who are end of life. In response to this, and with the assistance of the Palliative Social Worker and Matron at the hospice, we have set up a monthly Palliative Hub for adult social care workers. In addition, we have opened monthly opportunities for adult social workers to attend the inpatient unit multi-disciplinary hospice team.
There are several desired outcomes, one of which is to secure funding from the ICB to facilitate health and social care joint work. Both disciplines have skills and expertise that need to be joined up to effectively meet the needs of our service users and families. There currently exists a gap in social work training when a parent presents with a life-limiting condition. This does not sit easily with eligibility into statutory children’s services. We are observing repeated themes around lack of clarity from social services in response to the parent dying and the implications on who will have legal responsibility for the children. These concerns are shared by schools and organisations providing therapeutic services for children. The significance of this is that it creates an avoidable barrier in promoting a good death for the dying parent. Their need is for a timely streamlined service to promote peace of mind. A palliative single parent shared “I am not dead yet” in response to a lack of her voice being heard by the social worker.
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