Social workers act as an intermediary between patients and the services they need access to.
They also inform and support patients with their choices, acting as a facilitator in the decision making process.
At the hospice, the new social worker will holistically assess, evaluate and respond to patients’ emotional, social, practical and financial needs, in collaboration with the multi-professional team.
They can signpost patients and carers to professionals or services for information and support on matters such as housing, care at home and benefits.
They can also be advocates for patients where appropriate and, where conflict arises with family members, signpost families to external advocacy agencies.
At Woking & Sam Beare Hospices many of the traditional duties of a social worker have been carried out by hospice staff.
But the new role, which has been made possible with support from Macmillan, will allow counsellors, nurses and community teams to spend more time with patients and less on paperwork.
Director of nursing, Jayne Cooper, explains: “Ever more complex caseloads, and a growing number of people utilising hospice services, has seen the role of in-house social worker become increasingly common in the hospice environment.
“Setting up this new position within Woking & Sam Beare requires a great depth of knowledge and expansive experience. Caroline is exceptionally well qualified for the job and we are thrilled that she has accepted the position. We are excited by the opportunities that this new role, supported by Macmillan, will afford our palliative care team and the people they help.”
Caroline joins the hospice from Surrey County Council’s Integrated Care Team, where she was responsible for making sure that patients undergoing palliative care were well supported and had access to the correct care package for their needs.
She also has experience (in a hospital and community setting) of mental capacity, deprivation of liberty, access to fast-track continuing healthcare funding and financial support, discharge planning and safeguarding.
She has supported patients through challenging circumstances such as preferred priorities of care and aided patients with advanced care planning, as they consider choices for their end of life care and beyond.
Caroline commented: “This role is a superb addition to the already priceless hospice services and I am very excited to have been given the chance to share my knowledge and expertise with my new team.
“I am looking forward to being the person who can link all departments and alleviate the administrative burden from hospice front line staff so that they can focus even more of their attention onto the provision of care.”