What Do Social Workers Think about the Palliative Care Needs of People with Parkinson's Disease?

Mary Waldron, W.George Kernohan, Felicity Hasson, Susan Foster, Barbara Cochrane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Social workers are key professionals in assessing social care need and providing support.However, needs in the palliative care stage of chronic illness are not always wellmanaged. In this study, we set out to examine the social worker’s role in the deliveryof palliative care to clients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Two focus groups and one individualinterview were undertaken with thirteen social workers with experience ofworking with clients with PD in community and hospice settings. Differing perceptionsof palliative care emerged: from a holistic approach to specialist care near the end oflife. Negative associations of palliative care were identified. Other barriers also exist,such as lack of knowledge and experience of PD and resources that hinder the deliveryof palliative care to clients with chronic conditions. Different interpretations of palliativecare affect its delivery to clients with long-term chronic conditions. Very fewclients with PD are referred to specialist palliative care specifically for management oftheir symptoms, which must prevent holistic care. Social workers have an important,yet underdeveloped, role in identifying and addressing palliative care needs. Policiesand procedures should be clarified regarding prioritisation and access for clients withchronic long-term conditions to appropriate palliative care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 23 Nov 2011

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  • Social workers
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • palliative care
  • focus groups


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