Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Michael Chovanec

Abstract

This qualitative study examined the best practices of hospice social workers who work with patients and families during their hospice journey. Data was collected through semi-structured standardized interviews with hospice social workers currently working in the area. Open coding methods were used to inductively analyze codes in the data and to find common themes from the interviews. Themes that emerged from this study were separated into three categories: family roles and functioning, collaboration among the interdisciplinary team, and the hospice social worker role. Additionally, sub themes that correlated with these three major findings were discussed. The majority of the findings of this study were consistent with previous research. Other themes that were not congruent with previous research were also found, including the physician’s lack of education on hospice and the quality of communication among the interdisciplinary team. Implications for this study suggest ideas for future research in this area, with hopes to enhance hospice education, research, and training. Ongoing research in this area has the potential to strengthen an understanding of the hospice philosophy for patients, families, and professionals.

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