The diversity of roles, tasks and education of palliative care social workers in Europe

Best practice for patients with life-limiting illness with dependent children

Resources: 

Marshall S, Fearnley R, Bristowe K, Harding R. The perspectives of children and young people affected by parental life-limiting illness: An integrative review and thematic synthesis. Palliative Medicine. 2021;35(2):246-260. doi:10.1177/0269216320967590

Marshall S, Fearnley R, Bristowe K, Harding R. ‘It’s not just all about the fancy words and the adults’: Recommendations for practice from a qualitative interview study with children and young people with a parent with a life-limiting illness. Palliative Medicine. 2022;36(8):1263-1272. doi:10.1177/02692163221105564

Background

Palliative care social workers specialise in working with adults and children who are at the end of their life, their families, those they are close to, and their communities. They use skills and knowledge to help people to deal with the impact of what is happening to them, including loss and bereavement, and to have a good life and a good death. They work in partnership with people referred into services and they work alongside other professions, agencies, organisations and as part of the wider community. Palliative care social workers may work in hospices or hospitals, in the community, or in prisons. 

Palliative care social workers recognise and respond to the impact of diversity, disadvantage and discrimination on people’s situation in relation to gender, culture, ethnicity, age, disability, sexuality, religion and social class. They acknowledge and respect that people and communities choose to live and die in different ways. Palliative care social workers support the idea that end of life and bereavement care is a human right. They advocate strongly on behalf of dying people, families and closest ones, unpaid carers, friends and communities to ensure that their needs are identified and met. (Source: Association of Palliative Care Social Workers). For full document please follow the link below.

https://www.palliativecareggc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/The-Role-of-social-workers-in-palliative-end-of-life-and-bereavement-care.pdf

This palliative care social work taskforce was established in 2009 with the following aims and objectives in mind.

Aims and Objectives

  1. To offer leadership to palliative care social workers across Europe
  2. To identify the diversity of tasks and roles 
  3. To facilitate specialist education to social workers delivering palliative care
  4. To deliver post-graduate training to social workers in palliative care
  5. To survey palliative care social workers regarding priorities, needs and changes
  6. To improve knowledge of working with children and young people pre or post bereavement

Membership

Photo of Audrey Roulston

Prof. Audrey Roulston

Co-Chair

PhD, PGCHET, MSc, PG Dip SW, BA Honours

Professor of Social Work in Palliative Care.

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.
Queen’s University Belfast
Northern Ireland

https://pure.qub.ac.uk/en/persons/audrey-roulston

click here to contact by email

Photo of Dr Steve Marshall

Dr Steve Marshall

Co-Chair

Palliative Care Social Worker & Honorary Senior Lecturer

King’s College Hospital and King’s College London
UK

click here to contact by email

Steering Committee

  • Maria Wasner – Germany
  • Jose Van Nus – The Netherlands
  • Irene Murphy – Ireland
  • Petruta Anania – Romania
  • Inger Benkel – Sweden
  • Marie Mackova – Czech Republic
  • Karl Bitschnau – Austria – EAPC Board link
  • Patricia Dobrik – Slovakia
  • Tania Piccione – Italy

Advisory member

  • Susan Cadell – Canada

Partners

  • The Association of Palliative Care Social Workers UK
  • The Northern Ireland Association of Palliative Care Social Workers
  • World Hospice and Palliative Care Social Work Network
  • The task force leaders are in touch with palliative care social work groups in USA, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Holland, Portugal, Ireland and Romania.

Milestones

2022: Submission of publications for peer review: (a) Scoping review on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on palliative care social workers, (b) online survey of palliative care social workers during the pandemic, and (c) the challenges of social work practitioners and academics co-producing research. 

2022: Development and approval of online Post-Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care Social Work (Queen’s University)

2021: Distribution of online survey of palliative care social workers across 21 countries on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted on social workers and service delivery.

2019: Review the education needs of palliative care social workers.

2019: Survey on the diverse roles of palliative care social workers.

2019: Meet the Expert session at the World Congress in Berlin. Focus on palliative care social work with the LGBT community

Publications

Hughes S, Firth P, Oliviere D. Core competencies for palliative care social work in Europe: an EAPC White Paper-part 1. European Journal of Palliative Care. 2014 Nov 7;21(6):300-5.

Portuguese translation is available to view here Translated from the article first published in the European Journal of Palliative Care, 2014, (21) 6. Kindly reproduced by permission of the publishers of the journal, who retain the copyright. All rights reserved. 
Traduzido do artigo publicado pela primeira vez no European Journal of Palliative Care, 2014, (21) 6. Por gentileza, reproduzido com permissão dos editores da revista, que mantêm os direitos autorais. Todos os direitos reservados. 

Hughes S, Firth P, Oliviere D. Core competencies for palliative care social work in Europe: an EAPC White Paper-part 2. European Journal of Palliative Care. 2015;22(1):38-44.

Portuguese translation is available to view here Translated from the article first published in the European Journal of Palliative Care, 2015, (22).1 Kindly reproduced by permission of the publishers of the journal, who retain the copyright. All rights reserved. 
Traduzido do artigo publicado pela primeira vez no European Journal of Palliative Care, 2015, (22) 1. Por gentileza, reproduzido com permissão dos editores da revista, que mantêm os direitos autorais. Todos os direitos reservados.

EAPC Blog Post (June 19, 2019) APCP Social Work Task Force translates ‘Core competencies for palliative care social work in Europe’ into Portuguese 

Bitschnau, K.W., Firth, P. and Wasner, M. (2020) Social work in hospice and palliative care in Europe: Findings from an EAPC survey. Palliative and Supportive Care, pp.1-8. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1478951520000279