Challenges and Opportunities for Social Workers in Hospice and Palliative Care

Chris Herman, MSW, LICSW

Health, Hospice & Palliative Care

Practice Perspectives


Social work in hospice and palliative care requires a high level of professional knowledge and skill. NASW has long advocated for professional social work qualifications in hospice and palliative care. In recent years, however, the federal government has downgraded the qualifications needed to practice social work in hospice settings. This change is part of a deprofessionalization trend affecting social workers and clients in a variety of practice settings. Social work practitioners can promote the profession by enhancing their palliative and hospice expertise, educating consumers and their colleagues about the social work role within interdisciplinary palliative and hospice teams, conducting and promoting research to demonstrate the value of social work education and training within hospice and palliative care, and advocating on organizational and state levels.

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