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SWHPN Statement on Changes to Social Work Code of Conduct in Texas

On Monday, October 12, the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners changed the section of its code of conduct that establishes when a social worker may or may not deny services, to remove previous language specifying that discrimination based on disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity constitutes a violation of the code of conduct for Social Workers in Texas. The removal of these specifications puts the Texas code of conduct in contrast with existing social work principles, ethical guidelines for practice, and federal anti-discrimination mandates by allowing for discrimination based on disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 

The Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) is horrified and dismayed by these changes, and condemns them in the strongest terms possible. This action explicitly violates the National Association of Social Workers’ Code of Ethics Section 4.02:

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An Election Guide for Social Workers

“The world has been abnormal for so long that we've forgotten what it's like to live in a peaceful and reasonable climate. If there is to be any peace or reason, we have to create it in our own hearts and homes.” ― Madeleine L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

As of this writing, there are less than thirty days until the 2020 Election. This has been a year of tremendous uncertainty on so many fronts, and unlike in past years, it seems the uncertainty will continue through Election Night and possibly beyond.

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, SWHPN is not permitted to endorse a specific candidate, nor are we allowed to oppose any candidate.

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SWHPN Welcomes New Members to Board of Directors

SWHPN held elections for new members of the Board of Directors in July 2020 and is excited to announce the addition of six new members to the SWHPN Board. Members of the Board of Directors are elected to two-year terms.

Liz Anderson, Ph.D, joined Western Carolina University in 2016 as Assistant Professor of Social Work. Dr. Anderson is a 2018 recipient of the Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program Grant, one of the first of two social workers to receive the award nationwide, for her research and leadership in family engagement in palliative care for rural persons with kidney disease.  She has worked as a hospice and palliative care social worker and was the former Social Services Director for Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition.  Dr. Anderson was the Field Director and an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Mars Hill University as well as former Women’s Studies Coordinator. She collaborates with George Washington University and Coalition for Supportive Care of Kidney Patients in research and clinical practice on advance care planning, motivational interviewing, and supportive care for with persons diagnosed with kidney disease. In addition, Dr. Anderson's other research area includes campus sexual assault. She integrates her practice and research experience in the classroom, teaching Integrated Health, Social Work Practice: Individual Interventions, Research Methods, and Human Behavior in the Social Environment.


Danielle Jonas, MSW, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in psychotherapy with children, adolescents and families. Danielle earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and in history from Indiana University. She continued her education by earning a master’s degree in social work from Indiana University with a concentration in pediatrics. She went on to complete an interdisciplinary pediatric palliative care social work fellowship at Boston Children’s Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute and the Harvard School of Medicine. She is currently at PhD candidate at NYU Silver School of Social Work.

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Scholarships available for Fall 2020 SWHPN Summits

Thanks to a generous grant from the American Nurses Foundation, SWHPN is able to offer a limited number of scholarships for our August, September, and October SWHPN Summits. These scholarships are for both members and non-members, and will cover the costs associated with one Summit.

We are hoping to help social workers that have been negatively impacted by COVID, so that you may continue to learn and get CE hours during this difficult time. In the event that demand exceeds the available supply of funds, we will use a random lottery to determine the scholarships. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until September 14, 2020.

APPLY HERE

How SWHPN Is Addressing Diversity

Last month, more than 125 SWHPN members, social work professionals, and students joined together for our virtual June Summit, “Cultural Competency in Hospice and Palliative Care.” Held on Juneteenth and during Pride month, we wanted to use the day as an opportunity to go beyond didactic presentations to showcase meaningful, actionable steps social workers could take to address racism, explicit and implicit bias, intersectionality, and more. During the post-Summit “networking happy hour,” attendees stayed online for an extra hour and a half to continue the discussion. It’s clear there is a hunger for more information about how to dismantle inequitable systems that harm Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color (BIPOC), whether they are patients, families, or social workers.

Post-Summit, what is SWHPN doing to address the changes that are needed?

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Social Justice and Palliative Care Policy

In an effort to engage in social action to address racial inequity, SWHPN’s Statement on Racism and Structural Inequities in Hospice and Palliative Social Work is suggesting the bold and necessary step of asking us to critically question how we, as hospice and palliative care social workers, are contributing to maintaining systems of inequity in the work that we do.
These are hard conversations to have, but needed to do the work necessary to correct racial and ethnic disparities inherent in end-of-life care. In the book, Anti-Racist Social Work, Lena Dominelli writes that racism is not just a matter that can be “educated away,” but rather requires the “eradication and the transformation of our socio-economic and political structures.”

To begin to be anti-racist palliative care and hospice social workers, we need to examine our own personal biases and the systems of care that pay our salaries and contribute to poorer care provision for people who are not white. Using a lens of intersectionality to examine the market based economy of health care in the United States, having a life-threatening illness and being black or Hispanic unfortunately, leads to poorer end-of-life care outcomes. As our healthcare system struggles to care for those impacted by COVID-19, we have seen that higher rates of infection and death have occurred in nonwhite communities. Palliative care research also tells us that racial and ethnic minorities experience a higher likelihood of difficulties in managing symptoms from all illnesses, including higher rates of experiences with pain, a higher likelihood of hospitalization in final stages of life, and a higher likelihood of discharge from hospice. According to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), hospice utilization rates for blacks and Hispanics/Latinx persons are still vastly disproportionate when compared to the general population, with 82.5% Caucasian, 8.2% African-American, and 6.4% Hispanic/Latinx patients enrolled in hospice compared with the overall U.S. population percentages of 60% Caucasian, 12% African-American, and 18% Hispanic/Latinx. 
In a recent article I co-authored in The Journal of Policy, Practice and Research I attempted to examine these disparities using a social justice informed policy analysis to examine two of the primary payors for end-of-life care, the Hospice Medicare Benefit and Medicare coverage for Palliative Care. In practice, these federal policies have substantially socially unjust effects by providing disproportionate advantages for those who are white, have family caregiving support systems, and higher socioeconomic status.

We need to ask ourselves, what role do we play in maintaining this hospice and palliative care system of structural inequity that favors and maintains a norm of whiteness and socioeconomic stability?  We also need to recognize how the hospice and palliative care workforce continues to not only serve more whites than other ethnic minorities, but also maintains a majority of whites employees in professional and leadership roles, while at the same time maintaining a low paid workforce of direct care workers who are more likely to be black and brown women.  

Social workers are trained to be integrated practitioners, meaning that we can, and should, be considering multiple levels of practice when working with client systems. However, often, social workers tend to focus primarily on roles that are more reflective of micro level of practice. A recent job analysis of 482 hospice and palliative care social workers published in the Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care showed that social workers consider macro practice or “engaging in social policy and community development” to be of lower importance in job tasks when compared with other more traditional micro practice roles. This moment in history should be recognized as a call to action for social workers to engage in policy analysis and examine policy outcomes to better develop skills in policy action and political organization.

Interested in learning more concrete ways to influence and address macro level changes that are needed?
  • See SWHPN's List of Resources for Health & Race Equity
  • Participate in SWHPN's next TweetChat, which are announced on the SWHPN Events Calendar
  • Send us your resources or suggestions for what we can share with the field or how we can improve as an organization of social workers

How Will SWHPN Change in Response to the Killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Riah Milton, Dominique Fells, and Innumerable Others?

As social workers in this pivotal moment, there are key lessons from the field of social work, and particularly the field of palliative and hospice social work, that we at SWHPN can apply to help some of us become better both in our work and our day-to-day lives.

1: listen more than you speak. 
It is very easy for those of us who have any privilege to think that we can speak on an issue, but this is often where we misstep. The opportunity for people in positions of privilege to speak and write with words that contain microaggressions is frequent, especially if those of us who have privilege do not acknowledge that privilege. Acknowledging out own biases can be difficult, but doing so without a defensive response is one way to help in this moment.

2: do not expect those who would be hurt by your questions to respond to them.
Just as you would not ask extremely vulnerable patients such as those who are in extreme pain, those experiencing extreme existential suffering, or those who are vulnerable in other ways to participate in a research study, do not expect black, indigenous, and people of color to teach you about diversity, equity, and inclusion if you are a white person. As one person put it: “That is the oppressed teaching the oppressor." While there may be opportunities to learn in webinars and other formal settings, for white social workers, it’s important to remember that some of our friends and acquaintances may be emotionally exhausted right now, beyond what you are feeling, and you will need to respect that when reaching out to them.

3 (this one’s a challenge from our Vice Chair, Karen Bullock): think outside the box.
During the last SWHPN Summit we had an open networking session where Karen made an excellent point about language and how she does not like to be put in a box. She didn’t suggest that anyone else follow her lead particularly, she just suggested that we all think critically about the language that we use for ourselves and for others. As we know in this field, language can be fraught. A “difficult family” can be code for many things, particularly when race or ethnicity are applied. When we’re talking about language such as "cultural competency", "white fragility", "anti-racist", it is important for us to explore what these terms mean to us, as well as to unpack what they may mean to others and to examine why we may want to use them, if at all. Before the last SWHPN Summit, a SWHPN member reached out to ask if “Cultural Competence” was the name we wanted to use for the Summit right now and my honest answer was, “I don’t know." Being open to discussion without defensiveness and without taking things personally but recognizing that there are deeply emotional issues around these issues is an important part of how we face up to making changes in our organization.

4: keep your ethics in check
I have seen several posts now on NASW discussion boards, Twitter, and various listservs where social workers have harkened back to our professional ethics and values. Recently, social workers Lauren Schmidt, MSW, LICSW, APHSW-C, Daphne Lindsey, LICSW, Elizabeth Julian, LICSW from Seattle Children's reached out to express their disappointment that SWHPN had not posted any resources exploring the intersection of racial inequity and COVID-19. This was after their colleague Arika Patneaude, MSW, LICSW, APHSW-C, EMMHS had reached out to express a similar disappointment a few weeks back. All of this is to say that we should be doing better, and they are right: this is in our bones as social workers. Here are just two of our core values that we should be turning to right now (and really, always) as we engage in conversations about inequities across all intersections:
  • Value: Social Justice
  • Ethical Principle: Social workers challenge social injustice.
  • Social workers pursue social change, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable and oppressed individuals and groups of people. Social workers' social change efforts are focused primarily on issues of poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and other forms of social injustice. 
  • Value: Dignity and Worth of the Person
  • Ethical Principle: Social workers respect the inherent dignity and worth of the person.
  • Social workers treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity (National Association of Social Workers [NASW], 2008).
SWHPN is ethically obligated to educate about social justice and to speak on the dignity and worth of each and every one of our members, as well as each and every one of the patients and families that we serve, as well as those who we do not yet serve but who are eligible for our service. In truth, we recognize the dignity and worth of all persons, and we would like to work together with our members to highlight the work we are doing to improve our work in showing that we do care about these ethics, as well as in highlighting the incredible resources that are out in the world.

With that in mind, below are the steps we have taken so far to change the organization and the steps we plan to make in the coming months:

  1. At the July board meeting, we are discussing our strategic Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) plan. This will include embedding EDI strategic plans within each committee (rather than creating a new committee specifically for EDI). 
  2. We will be asking all educational presenters to include EDI materials in their presentations. 
  3. We will start an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Special Interest Group (SIG) within the next few months, while also asking all SIGs to embed EDI within their goals and action planning.
  4. We will share new crowdsourced resources every Friday about 3 topics: Grief and Bereavement, COVID-19, and EDI. If you have read a great article, listened to a thought-provoking podcast, or watched an illuminating webinar on one of these topics, we want to hear about it! You can submit these on this form until 5:00 p.m. EST to include it in that week’s SWHPN Shares post.
Here are a few recent resources we're drawing some learning from; we know there are many more and hope you'll submit those here.

  • Code Switch: Why Now White People: in this episode, hosts Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji discuss theories for why the country, and specifically white people, appear to have responded to George Floyd’s killing when so many others have gone unanswered.
  • Income emerges as major indicator of coronavirus infection, along with race: this Washington Post article describes who is getting sick in the pandemic. This won't be surprising information to medical social workers, as poverty is a social determinant of health and a lever of power, but it will be important to note, especially for our patients who live in places of intersectionality.
  • Suggested by social workers Lauren Schmidt, MSW, LICSW, APHSW-C, Daphne Lindsey, LICSW, and Elizabeth Julian, LICSW at Seattle Children's:

To our members, we ask that you make a commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion both with your colleagues and with your patients. If you’re white, commit to listening to colleagues and patients who are hurting. Tell us when we make a misstep (and when it doesn’t take too much energy). This is going to be a difficult period of change and I can’t promise we will be perfect; but I can promise we will try as hard as we can, and that we will try to apply the above principles.

Allie Shukraft, MSW, MAT, APHSW-C | SWHPN Board Chair

A Way to Respond: Learn and Share Your Voice

We know there is a lot going on. In just the past twelve weeks, we’ve seen the COVID-19 pandemic blaze through our communities, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths. We’re seeing the related economic downturn affect workers, businesses, housing, food security, and more interrelated systems. We’re sharing the righteous anger from thousands of people across the country as they protest the impunity with which racial, ethnic, and xenophobic hatred and violence has been allowed to flourish. We echo the statement cried out on the streets and emblazoned across social media that Black Lives Matter.

Through it all, hospice and palliative care social workers have faced changing norms and practices head-on. We’ve grappled with determining who is considered an “essential” worker eligible for PPE. We’ve learned how to conduct family meetings in our living rooms and parking garages via videoconferencing and new apps. We’ve figured out how to show a smile behind a mask, how to show concern without being able to hug, and how to record memories and share presence for loved ones who couldn’t be physically present. 

AND we’ve done all of that while also grappling with the social justice issues that, due to hundreds of years building up layers upon layers of structural racism and inequities, are suddenly split open for all to see. Of the COVID deaths, we see the disproportionate impact it has had on Black people, Native Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ+ people, incarcerated people, and other marginalized communities, due directly to historical factors including redlining, unequal access to  to jobs, healthcare, and insurance, and stigma from healthcare providers. In the economic downturn, we see the same factors at play again, affecting those already struggling; and again in the police and judicial systems that overwhelmingly harm communities of color. It has been a lot to take in and process, even more for our social workers who are living it as a reality.

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SWHPN Guidance for Talking About Masks

As some social workers who have been working remotely are now returning to work and going into people’s homes wearing masks, we are hearing reports that some are getting pushback from both patients and coworkers about wearing masks. Some have shared that patients have expressed a worry that this is an indication that they may be sick with COVID-19, while coworkers have expressed that they do not feel they need to wear masks for various reasons. Below we offer some suggestions for responses that you could give to both of these groups. These responses were provided to us from various social workers we have spoken with, while others come from a variety of resources you can click on to learn more.

Some suggested prompts:
I wear a mask in every patient’s home and in all public spaces while I am working.
One of the first responses you might choose to give to patients can be to normalize that this is standard procedure, something that has been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for all people to wear a cloth covering their nose and mouth in public spaces or in situations when they cannot be physically distanced (6 feet apart). The primary reason for healthcare workers to mask is to protect patients. In this way, we keep any germs that we may have from transmitting from ourselves to them and we are following recommended practices that are based on scientific evidence. While we do not suspect that we have the virus at this time (if we did, we would be at home and not at work), research has shown that people can be infected with COVID-19 and not showing any symptoms for up to 2 weeks before they begin to feel ill.

Wearing a mask is not a political or cultural statement for me.
While I understand some people believe that by wearing a mask, they are stating that they have a certain belief, my personal beliefs have nothing to do with the choices I make at work. Rather, I make choices based on the policies of my employer and what is recommended as in the best interest of the patients and families that I work with.

Frequently Asked Questions:
What if a patient or family refuses to allow you in the home if you are wearing a mask but your agency has asked you to wear one or you feel it is what is recommended for patient care?
SWHPN recommends that you do not visit patients and families in person without wearing a mask until general masking recommendations have been lifted by the CDC, and especially if masking is recommended by your employer. If a patient or family member feels that a mask is an obstacle to a visit, we recommend that you do not remove the mask for a visit, but change this particular patient’s care plan to be one that is virtual when possible, unless the family member that objects to masking is not present or changes their objection.

What if a co-worker refuses to wear a mask?
We have heard reports from some hospice social workers that some coworkers do not want to wear masks for various reasons (I live alone, I know I am not sick, etc.). Because we as social workers know that we cannot control another person’s behavior, and masks are intended to keep other people healthy, rather than the wearer, we know that this can potentially impact your health. If a co-worker refuses to wear a mask, you have 3 options: talk to them and provide education, speak to your leader about the issue, or stay at least 6 feet away from this co-worker, something you can control.

Another talking point you can try is sending them articles about masks, like the one above from the CDC, or one of these from NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/06/21/880832213/yes-wearing-masks-helps-heres-whyhttps://www.npr.org/2020/06/17/879682816/a-growing-body-of-research-highlights-the-importance-of-wearing-face-masks, and https://www.npr.org/2020/06/11/875311079/how-the-widespread-mask-use-could-slow-the-coronavirus-pandemic.

Of course, there are many different people in the world and they may have their own reasons for not wanting to wear masks. As one author writes about here in The New York Times, many black men are afraid to wear masks for fear of racial profiling. In the Atlantic, another author posits that a public health approach for people who feel asking them to mask is infringing on their rights, taking an empathetic approach, as outlined here, will be more successful than badgering, shaming, or pushing. 

One final thing to consider when providing patient education: utilize tools that are culturally competent and meet the health literacy needs of the patient and family. There are a number of healthcare inequities which are being highlighted during this pandemic and as a social worker, it's important to address and discuss these issues with your clients so that you can assess and hopefully address what barriers may exist within their medical services. Providing linguistically and culturally appropriate education is a start. Talking openly about racial and ethnic inequalities with your patients and families is a step. We will be posting more about racial and ethnic disparity and the COVID-19 pandemic on this site, but here are some tools you can use when educating about masks and COVID health literacy:

It Starts With Us: SWHPN Statement on Racism and Structural Inequities in Hospice and Palliative Social Work

The Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) wholeheartedly rejects the killings of black and brown people by police. As social workers helping ease suffering at end-of-life, we cannot let racism and disparities in care go unchecked. We are here to support a more just, equitable system for all.

Our organization is comprised of nearly 1,000 hospice and palliative care social workers throughout the country. Our core work focuses on providing professional development, amplifying evidence-informed best practices, and advocating for improved policies and increased funding, so that all patients and families experiencing serious illness receive expert psychosocial care which alleviates their suffering, improves their quality of life, and facilitates their dying in accordance with their wishes.

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Statement on Hospice and Palliative Care Social Work Practice In Times of Health Care Crisis

The words "essential" and "non-essential" may become two of the most repeated words of 2020. We hear them in press conferences, read them in work e-mails, and see them on chyrons posted across the bottoms of our TV screens. For many of us in the Hospice and Palliative Care Social Work (HAPC-SW) field, these words have also been applied to our jobs in ways that, as many of us have discussed at our nightly support calls, have provoked conflicting feelings of both guilt and relief (when labeled non-essential) or fear and pride (when labeled essential).

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Update on Social Work Open Discussions

Over the past month, our weeknight Social Work Open Discussions have been attended by social workers and psychosocial professionals from over thirty states and four countries! Thanks to all who participate and make these meetings the dynamic discussions they are during this critical time.

We are updating our schedule over the coming weeks to consolidate these meetings, as well as provide some discussion around specific topics. As always, these remain informal gatherings and safe places for clinicians and colleagues to share feelings and fears in an effort to find renewal, support, and social connection.

Beginning Tuesday, May 5th, please join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 pm EST. You can register to participate here. Come as little or as often you need.

See the updated schedule:

  • Thursday, April 30th: Topic: Grief and Trauma with special guest April Naturale. Looking to the future, there will likely be some level of grief and trauma for our colleagues and a large portion of the world that exists for a long time. What are we going to do about that as a field and as individuals?
  • Tuesday, May 5th: Open Discussion
  • Thursday, May 7th: Topic: New Normal. What does the "new normal" for hospice and palliative social work look like, and what can we do to ensure that our field is equipped to support patients, families, and colleagues? What are you hoping for, what are you worried about?
  • Tuesday, May 12th: Open Discussion
  • Thursday, May 14th: Topic: Transitions. How has your role changed since COVID-19? If you're working from home or have changed locations, what support do you need? How are you adapting? What things will remain post-COVID? 

You can find our most updated list of events and Social Work Open Discussion topics on the SWHPN Events Calendar.





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SWHPN Announces New Leadership

Though our field is facing unprecedented challenges, we are pleased to announce several exciting leadership changes taking place the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) to lead our members through these uncertain times.

SWHPN appointed Jessica Strong as permanent Executive Director, after serving in the role of interim Executive Director for the past year. This appointment followed an organizational search and board voting process. In addition to leading the outstanding team of professionals who have implemented SWHPN’s annual General Assemblies over the past five years, Jessica led SWHPN’s most recent strategic planning process that initiated the formalization of SWHPN’s current organizational structure. The goals set in that process have helped to provide extraordinary growth of SWHPN this year and have set the course for a bright future. One of her first initiatives was successfully securing a two-year grant from the Cambia Health Foundation to provide educational webinars to support the professional development needs of hospice and palliative care social workers. We are grateful to the Cambia Health Foundation for their continued support which will support these new initiatives.

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Montefiore Medical Center Announces Palliative Care Social Work Fellowship

The Palliative Care Social Work Fellowship is a one-year, full-time position from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. The goal of the Fellowship is to develop specialty trained palliative care social workers who will contribute to the care of seriously ill older adults in underserved communities in New York City and become future leaders in this field.

As part of a large academic medical center, the Montefiore Palliative Care Service offers a rich environment for learning. Medical students, residents and fellows from other specialties rotate with the Palliative Care Service, as well as advanced practice nursing, social work and chaplain students.

The Fellowship includes rotations at various sites within Montefiore, including the Palliative Care Inpatient Unit, the Moses, Einstein and Wakefield Hospitals, and the outpatient Oncology and Palliative Care Clinics. If the Fellow identifies another particular area of interest, there may be an opportunity for an elective rotation. The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Program Faculty will provide ongoing supervision and mentoring in clinical and other components of the Fellowship program. Social work specific training and mentoring is provided by experienced specialist social workers at all sites.

The Fellowship provides extensive educational opportunities, including weekly didactics, interdisciplinary team meetings, journal club, research/quality improvement meetings, complex case discussions, psychosocial oncology rounds, roundtable discussions and grand rounds. The Fellow will have the opportunity to attend local palliative care conferences, as well as continuing education classes at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service.

The Fellow will participate in a research/quality improvement project with mentoring from Dr. Cathy Berkman from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. The Fellow will also conduct training on generalist-level palliative care within the Montefiore Health System and to local community organizations.

The position includes a stipend and benefits. The Palliative Care Social Work Fellowship is generously funded by the Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.

ELIGIBILITY

Applicants to the Montefiore Palliative Care Social Work Fellowship must:

  • have an MSW degree from a CSWE-accredited program;
  • hold a NYS social work license, or limited permit, by the start of the Fellowship;
  • demonstrate a strong commitment to a career in palliative care social work and to serving the population of older adults in New York City after completion of the Fellowship; and
  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

For further information on the Fellowship or to apply, please go to the website listed below: https://www.einstein.yu.edu/departments/family-social-medicine/education/fellowships/palliative-care-social-work-fellowship-program/

Applications are due by March 15, 2020.

CMS-AAHPM MACRA Quality Measure Project

The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, in partnership with the National Coalition for Hospice and Palliative Care and RAND Health, is leading a three-year effort to develop patient-reported quality measures in outpatient palliative care for the CMS Quality Payment Program.

SWHPN is a member of the Coalition and is inviting programs that provide outpatient palliative care services to adult patients (and you can provide inpatient services, as long as you provide outpatient services) to consider serving as a testing site in this effort.
 
RAND Health will be leading a national field test of patient-reported items among outpatient palliative care programs, and field testing will begin in September 2019.

 
The benefits of participating as a testing site include:




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Social workers: we need your input for the HPC Workforce Study!

SWHPN is inviting its members, colleagues, and friends to participate in a research study questionnaire asking about your work experience, future plans, and professional stressors: the HPC Workforce Study. A social work-specific section is included for your input. If you work with seriously ill patients, you should consider participating in this study. This workforce survey is for all members of the interdisciplinary team.

SWHPN is proud to be participating, along with several other national organizations including AAHPM, HPNA, PAHPM and SCA/HCCN, in this important study. The results may be published as part of a Palliative Care specialty workforce series in Health Affairs.

By completing this survey, you are consenting to participate. No identifying information will be collected or reported. Other than contributing to our field's knowledge in this area, there are no other benefits to participation. The survey will take less than 15 minutes to complete, and is available here: http://www.hpcworkforcesurvey.com/

Survey: Experiences of LGBT Patients and Families in Hospice and Palliative Care

The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has a long history of experiencing discrimination and stigma in many arenas, including health care and social services. Gary L. Stein, JD, MSW (SWHPN Vice Chair, Professor at Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University) and Cathy Berkman, PhD, MSW (SWHPN Board, Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University) are conducting a study to learn about the experiences of LGBT persons and their family and friends with palliative care and hospice programs. The goal of this study is to the ways in which their care is discriminatory, disrespectful, or inappropriate based on their sexual minority status. Study findings will be used to develop and disseminate policy and practice remedies.

Your participation is voluntary. If you do participate, you have the option of remaining anonymous. If you choose to share your identity, your responses will be confidential. Study findings will be reported in the aggregate and it will not be possible to identify individual respondents or their institutions. We expect that the national sample will include several hundred hospice and palliative care respondents from social work, medicine, nursing, chaplaincy, administrators and elder law attorneys.

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Your Annual Review: Take The Wheel

Get reimbursement for your professional memberships, certifications, and professional development.

For many of us, it is annual review time: a time to reflect on our work with managers and supervisors, and an opportunity to remind them of the value, skills and expertise we bring to our work, our teams, and our patients.

It is also a time to request things for yourself! Although budgets are tight, it's important to advocate for yourself and your profession. Many of us do receive money for CME activities, such an professional conferences like SWHPN's.

Here are five things to do when asking your manager or supervisor for professional support:

1. List all of your clinical activities and educational efforts (including the clinical work you do with health care providers “on the fly”); and any research, QI or program development you do individually or as part of a group/team. Demonstrate how valuable you are!

2. Remind your superiors of the evidence based value of social work. Social workers not only impact the quality of patient/family care, but often the “bottom line” of the hospital, by reducing lengths of stays when we are involved in the case. We also solve problems with distressed patients and families facing complex personal and medical situations that are overwhelming their capacities, providing important communications support for the hospital and interdisciplinary team.

3. Demonstrate the importance of advanced certification. The upcoming certification of APHSW is the first and only test-based certification for social workers in the medical field, and will, hopefully, lead to billing options in the future. It is critical that we all have advanced certification in the field of Palliative Care and Hospice. Your institution can support you in this effort by paying for your SWHPN membership and APHSW registration fee. The cost for SWHPN membership of $125 annually. The cost of the upcoming certification is $275 for members/$450 for non-members – a savings of $50 for members for a total request of $400 - giving you an advanced certification and the benefits of SWHPN membership. No matter what you're requesting, always ask for the specific amount.

4. Ask for support to attend professional conferences, usually limited to one. Of course, we would love for you to attend SWHPN 2019, to be held in Orlando (as will AAHPM and HPNA), and our 2019 costs (to be announced soon!) are still far less than AAHPM and HPNA. Between registration, travel and accommodations, $1,500 is a reasonable request to start with.

At our first event in 2012, less than 50% of SWHPN conference attendees received support from their institutions/hospices to attend; this year, that number has jumped to almost 80%! More and more participants are receiving support from their employers.

In many/most medical institutions and hospices it is standard to provide continuing education and membership fee money to MD’s and NP’s. It should be the same for social work. We are a valued member of the team and do important clinical, educational, and program work.















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Defining Palliative Care Social Work: Moving the Needle

Many of us, as palliative care social workers, have been thinking about how we can best describe what we do as clinicians, researchers, educators, within our medical institutions. In the setting of so many changes that have happened to medical social workers and case management over the past years, the social worker on the palliative care team are often caught between two or more worlds! These worlds and descriptions don’t always have the capacity to stretch and grow as the PC-CSW role has grown over the years. That has been our experience.

SWHPN Board Member Vickie Leff, LCSW, BCD is trying to change that, in the hope that we can help each other, learn from each other, and elevate the level of understanding of PC-CSW in hospital systems. At Duke, Vickie, along with Kristen Lakis, LCSW, Pediatric QoL Team, is working on not only developing new job descriptions that encompass the psychosocial, program, research, etc. that we do, but also reflect a vision for professional development both on the team and in the field. 

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New Post-MSW Palliative Care Social Work Fellowship at Montefiore Medical Center

Montefiore Medical Center

Palliative Care Social Work Fellowship Program

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