Oncology Social Work

Oncology Social Work for Social Work Graduates:
Oncology social work is the professional discipline, who as part of the oncology and haemato-oncology team provides psychosocial services to blood cancer and blood diseases patients in specific and cancer patients in general, their families, and caregivers. Professional social workers and counsellors connect patients and their families with essential community, state, national and international resources. Social workers and counsellors and its members are dedicated to increasing awareness about the social, emotional, educational, and spiritual needs of blood cancer patients through research, writing, workshops and lectures.
As an unit we are involved in collaborating with other patient advocacy groups, national and
international oncology organizations with the primary focus access and quality care for cancer patients.
Mission of Oncology Social Work
To advance excellence in the psychosocial care of persons with cancer, their families, and caregivers through: Advocacy, Education, Networking, Research & Resource Development.
Goal of Oncology Social Work

  • Increase awareness of the psychosocial effects of cancer.
  • Advance the practice of psychosocial interventions that enhance quality of life and recovery of persons with cancer and their families.
  • Foster communication and support among psychosocial oncology care givers.
  • Further the study of psychosocial and social effects of cancer through research and continuing education.
  • Advocate for programs and policies to meet the psychosocial needs of oncology patients and their families.
  • Promote liaison activities with other psychosocial oncology groups and professional oncology organizations.
  • Promote the highest professional standards and ethics in the practice of oncology social work.

The scope of oncology social work includes clinical practice, education, administration and research.
Psychosocial services provided by oncology social workers include individual, family and group counselling, education, advocacy, discharge planning, case management and programme development. These services are designed to maximize the patient’s utilization of the health care system, foster coping, and mobilize community resources in order to support optimal functioning.

Oncology social work services are available to patients and families throughout all phases of the cancer continuum, including prevention, diagnosis, survivorship, terminal care, and bereavement. Services are delivered in a wide variety of settings including specialty cancer centers, general hospitals and health systems, ambulatory centers, home health and hospice programmes, community-based agencies, and private practice settings.

Oncology social workers are an integral part of the health care team and contribute to the development and coordination of the overall treatment plan. In collaboration with other disciplines, oncology, social workers provide discharge planning and case management, linking patients with a variety of services necessary to meet the person’s multiple needs.
In addition to services to patients and families, oncology social workers address organizational and community needs through professional practice. Services are provided to institutions, voluntary health organizations, and community agencies with the overall aim of promoting health and improving the delivery of care to individuals at risk for or affected by cancer.
Services to patients and families
Oncology social work programmes shall provide the following clinical and programmatic services:
A. Completion of a psychosocial assessment of the patient and family’s response to the cancer diagnosis to include:

  • Stages in human development
  • Knowledge about cancer and its treatment including level of under standing, reactions and expectations
  • Patient and family psychosocial functioning including strengths, coping skills and supports.
  • Characteristics of the patient’s family and/or social and economic environment
  • Ethnic, spiritual and cultural influences and concerns
  • The source, availability and adequacy oFellowshipf community resources.

B. Development of a case plan with patient and family based on mutually agreed upon goals to enhance, maintain and promote optimal psychosocial functioning throughout cancer treatment and its outcome.
C. Utilization of a wide range of clinical interventions designed to address current and/or future problems as the patient’s medical and psychosocial needs evolve.
D. Utilization of high risk screening criteria for case finding and out reach activities.
E. Development of knowledge of cancer, its treatment and current trends.
F. Maintenance of knowledge of community resources and governmental programs available from local and national health and welfare agencies including expertise in accessing these for patients and families.
G. Organization and facilitation of patient and family education.
H. Collaboration with other professional disciplines in the planning and provision of services to cancer patients and their families.
I. Advocacy for and protection of patients’ dignity, confidentiality, rights, and access to care.
J. Development of research based knowledge that relates to clinical issues, interventions and outcomes.