Social work and end-of-life care: reviewing the past and moving forward


Social work and end-of-life care: reviewing the past and moving forward


Brandsen CK


Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life & Palliative Care




Humans; Health Services Accessibility; Interdisciplinary Communication; Clinical Competence; Altruism; Practice; Attitudes; Health Knowledge; Terminal Care/organization & administration; Social Work/education/organization & administration


This paper reviews the professional literature with respect to the social work profession's involvement in end-of-life care. The search process was conducted by entering key words in various combinations to electronic databases. Eligible articles were required to address one of the following: roles and activities of social workers in providing end-of-life care; core principles valued by social workers in the provision of end-of-life care; and barriers to provision of effective end-of-life care. The literature from 1990 through July 2004 was searched most rigorously. Based on this review, suggestions for where the profession of social work should focus its energies are offered. These key areas include focusing on generating empirically-based knowledge for practice and policy analysis and developing a system of social work education that addresses the unique knowledge and skills needed to participate in end-of-life practice as competent and informed professional practitioners. Current initiatives with regard to critical areas are summarized.


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Citation List Month



Brandsen CK, “Social work and end-of-life care: reviewing the past and moving forward,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed September 30, 2023,