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

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.

group chairs social work Audrey Roulston and Steve Marshall

The Task Force is chaired by Professor Audrey Roulston, Queens University Belfast, Norther Ireland and Steve Marshall, Palliative Care Social Worker & Honorary Senior Lecturer King’s College Hospital and King’s College London, UK

Group resources

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

  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