Socialworkersspeaks on FacebookFollow Us on TwitterRSS Feed

Americans Avoid Discussing Death

If you ask most Americans they would say they would prefer to die at home surrounding by family, National Association of Social Workers member Deborah Waldrop said in this UPI article.

Yet statistics show 80 percent of chronically ill people die in hospitals or nursing homes.

“Too often, their lives have ended in pain and despair, spending their final days in an alienating institutional environment…,” Waldrop, DSW, ACSW, said.

There  is a growing emphasis on allowing chronically ill people to have a “good death,” which may include allowing them to die at home, said Waldrop, who is a professor at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work.

To learn more about how social workers help people at the end of life visit the National Association of Social Workers’ “Help Starts Here” Death & Dying Web page by clicking here. NASW also released Social Work Practice in Palliative and End of Life Care. To read these standards click here.


|   Leave A Comment
Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,



  1. One of the problems I encounter in the hospital setting is the issue of doctors not wanting to have a serious discussion about hospice until it’s too late. While it’s understandable, many doctors are hesitant or afraid to have discussions with patients and their families about the severity of a patient’s illness, often instilling hope when there shouldn’t be. In several cases, I have seen patients suffer greatly as a result of wanting aggressive treatments until the end, when they could have passed away comfortably at home.

    Here is a great New Yorker article on hospice care. It’s a great read and perhaps something that can be shared with families and doctors who struggle with this issue:

  2. We invite your application to join our growing ExCEL in Social Work team!

    The ExCEL in Social Work pre-conference trainings address critical components of quality psychosocial-spiritual support. These innovative trainings are offered free of cost (for competitively selected applicants) and accepted applicants are eligible for that night’s hotel stay, extensive materials, CE’s, and meals associated with the training. ExCEL is strategically scheduled immediately preceding the annual conferences (2012) for the AOSW and APOSW to potentially minimize time away from work and out-of-pocket travel costs.

    ExCEL in Social Work, 2012 – Dates and Locations!
    May 14 – 15, 2012: Portland, OR (In Association with APOSW)
    May 28 – 29, 2012: Boston, MA (In Association with AOSW)

    The ExCEL curriculum addresses recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2008 Report: Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs. Selected core-competencies for the training include: screening and assessment, collaboration, evidence-informed intervention, family-conferencing and decision-making, culturally-sensitive communication and problem-solving, and leadership and advocacy. This program is designed to improve the delivery of psychosocial-spiritual care for oncology patients and their families by encouraging skilled oncology social workers to further enhance their leadership abilities.

    ExCEL requires that each applicant create an institutional enhancement goal to implement over a 12-month period. Progress will be monitored post-course at 6 and 12 months. ExCEL in Social Work is conducted by an experienced team, including Shirley Otis-Green, LCSW, Brad Zebrack, PhD, Barbara Jones, PhD, Terry Altilio, LCSW, Kathryn Smolinski, MSW, Katherine Walsh, PhD, and Stacia Wagner, MSW.

    Additional information and application available here:

    Contact Email:

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.