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Abstract

The assessment of the palliative client and family caregivers by an interdisciplinary team comprising medical, nursing, and allied health allows for all aspects including the physical, social, and psychological and spiritual needs to be incorporated into care planning. This comprehensive level of planning for the care of the client and family caregivers can allow for a client to fulfil their own definition of a good death, or dying well. Whilst the provision of psychosocial support can be the seen as the role of the social worker in the team, all members of the palliative care team, especially in rural and remote areas with fewer members, will at times face a situation where they need to provide some psychosocial support. It is acknowledged by the authors that the social work professional identity, responsibilities, and skills are not easily understood, and this identity is further challenged with the prospect of interdisciplinary work. This paper describes and illustrates the psychosocial considerations for the palliative client and family caregiver and has been developed following a review of the definition of a “good death” in consultation with rural and remote-based palliative care team members in South Australia. A literature search of the skills of the social work trained professional applicable to interdisciplinary palliative care work is included. A workforce evidence-based (WEB) diagrammatic tool is offered to illustrate the areas for assessment and intervention. Tasks associated with the psychosocial service to the client and family caregivers, the members of the palliative care team, and the community are defined with the goal of developing a consistent expectation of the role. The contribution of the psychosocial worker in assessing the need for ongoing bereavement support and provision is included.

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