The role of the oncology social worker is to help patients, families, and caregivers deal with the experience of facing cancer. Our licensed social workers are educated and skilled to assist with the psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual issues that people have to deal with in oncology. Social workers are there to help people with practical needs, like finding resources in the institution and the community. A social worker is also able to guide patients with more complex needs such as adjusting to an illness, dealing with transitions and decision-making, navigating cultural issues, and communicating with family members, friends, and health care providers.
Social workers meet with patients and family members individually and/or as a family, run support and education groups, and work as part of oncology care teams. Social Workers are key to overcoming the barriers that patients experience in receiving the services necessary for their care.
Every patient will receive an appointment with one of our social workers prior to the start of a chemotherapy treatment. The earlier in the illness experience that patients, families, and caregivers meet with an oncology social worker, the more they are likely to benefit from the connection over time.
Common patient-related services our Social Workers can assist in:
- Transportation limitations or issues
- Financial assistance through grants/scholarships
- Supportive referrals for community agencies
- Referrals to Benefits Counselors, Psychologist, Nutritionist, Chronic Care Management
- Provide emotional support and brief counseling
- Arrange for internal/external aide for household
- Issues surrounding housing situation
- Connecting patients and their families to support groups
- Palliative and Hospice education