Join Us in Saluting Social Workers in March

As we prepare for the joys of spring, we are pleased to recognize March as National Social Work Month, a commemoration that the National Association of Social Workers (SocialWorkers.org) introduced in March 1963. In 1984, the White House began recognizing this month to honor the profession.   

The original purpose of this distinction was to encourage public support and interest in this important career choice. This year's theme is "Elevate Social Work," which salutes the many ways in which these certified professionals empower people to solve problems, cope with challenges and obtain the resources they need. Their daily commitment to assisting people in crisis situations is appreciated by all of their clients and admired by all of their clinical colleagues and support staff.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall employment outlook in this field is projected to grow 16 percent over the next five years, higher than most careers. Employment growth will be driven by the increased local and national demand for health care and social services and vary by social worker specialty.

There are more than 680,000 social workers in the United States who stand up for millions of people experiencing devastating illnesses and mental health crises. They guide and support our veterans, children, families and communities through difficult times. The role of social workers may often be misunderstood as they make invaluable contributions to society.  

Niagara Hospice social workers are an essential foundation of the interdisciplinary care management team. They provide counseling and information while navigating the paperwork involved with health insurance and treatment planning. Social workers recognize that the role of caregiver is often difficult and always vital. They interact regularly with patients and families to provide emotional support, crisis intervention and counseling.

Living with a terminal condition is a vulnerable, intimate time for patients that also affects all family members and caregivers. Social workers facilitate communication that is especially helpful to families and caregivers who may refrain from talking about death so as to avoid upsetting loved ones.

Another important service our social workers provide is education regarding end-of-life planning and documentation. Social workers inform patients and families about advance directives, which outline the wishes of an individual should they become unable to communicate them in the future for themselves. Advance directives include a Health Care Proxy, Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will or Do Not Resuscitate order. Social workers also facilitate discussions between the patient, family and hospice team about these important decisions while providing advocacy for a person's right to self-determination.

We are very proud of our social workers and thank them for their commitment, thoroughness and professionalism in caring for patients and families, this month and always. They are always available as resources to support families and caregivers and ready to lend a listening ear and compassionate heart. If you know or meet any social workers, thank them for their service and dedicating their careers to helping others. It's a challenging profession that they excel at whenever they are needed.

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