About Social Work Services
UPMC CancerCenter Social Work Services provide individual, family and group counseling, education, advocacy, discharge planning, case management, and program development. These services are designed to maximize the patient's utilization of the health care system, foster coping, and access community resources in order to support optimal functioning.
Social work services are available to patients and families throughout all phases of the cancer continuum, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, terminal care, and bereavement.
Oncology social workers provide the following clinical and program-related services at UPMC CancerCenter:
- Advocacy for and protection of patients' dignity, confidentiality, rights, and access to care.
- Collaboration with other disciplines in the planning and provision of services to cancer patients and their families.
- Completion of a psychosocial assessment of the patient's and family's response to the cancer diagnosis.
- Development of a treatment plan with the patient and family based on mutually agreed-upon goals.
- Maintenance of knowledge of community resources and governmental programs available from local and national health and welfare agencies.
- Organization and facilitation of patient and family education.
- Use of high-risk screening criteria for case-finding and outreach activities.
- Use of a wide range of clinical interventions designed to address current and/or future problems as the patient's medical and psychosocial needs evolve.
The focus of care may relate to the following:
- Adjusting to changes in self-image and sexuality
- Adjusting to the emotional impact of a cancer diagnosis
- Communicating with children about cancer
- Coping with bereavement
- Coping with chronic illness
- Learning to negotiate the complexities of the health care system
- Managing financial and insurance concerns
- Planning for care after hospitalization
- Realigning family roles
- Returning to the workplace
- Stress management
Oncology social workers also offer a number of support and educational groups to patients with cancer and their family members.
Additional responsibilities and activities outside the realm of direct patient care include:
- Providing education and consultation to other disciplines, students, and volunteers.
- Coordinating and presenting professional and community education programs.
- Developing and conducting quality improvement studies.
- Serving as consultants to organizations on both regional and national levels.
- Providing consultation and volunteer services to voluntary health organizations and community agencies.