Educating Social Workers in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (ESPEC)

Educating Social Workers in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (ESPEC)

MJHS & NASW Partnership Program

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Educating Social Workers in Palliative and End-of-Life Care (ESPEC) is a brand-new course for practicing social workers that aims to improve knowledge and skills in palliative social work with over six hours of interactive online coursework and four hours of instructor-led training. The online training includes video of patient scenarios that social workers would likely encounter The instructor-led portion of the training uses reflective exercises, mentored role plays and facilitated small group discussion. 

Course topics include:

  • Best practices in palliative care 
  • Role of the social worker in management of serious chronic illness 
  • Multidimensional assessment of the patient and family 
  • Distress screening 
  • Psychological and psychosocial impact of advanced illness
  • Social work and end-of-life care 
  • Cultural, religious and existential concerns surrounding advanced illness 
  • Serious illness conversations to support advance care planning 
  • Interprofessional communication 
  • And more!


6.0 hours CE for online independently paced training* completion of the online modules is required prior to participation in the instructor-led training 
4.0 hours CE for instructor-led training *can be taken in person or online

We welcome real-time and post-training feedback about this new program so that we can continue to refine it in preparation for national roll-out.

Learning objectives

  1. Identify best practices for front-line health social workers to integrate key palliative care principles into their clinical work
  2. Recognize the knowledge base and practice skills necessary to pursue competency in palliative social work
  3. Identify the skills necessary for interprofessional communication and visibility in palliative social work