Boston Medical Center
Boston, MA, United States


The Palliative Care Service provides patient and family care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering through the continuum of illness.

The clinical social worker is an integrated member of the Palliative Care service at Boston Medical Center (BMC). The position requires one who works effectively, efficiently and collaboratively as an employee adhering to professional social work standards expected at BMC, meeting the clinical and administrative requirements. The role provides clinical services to patients/families that address psychosocial, environment, age specific and cultural issues to maximize emotional, social and physical well-being and the effective use of healthcare and community resources; conducts bio-psychosocial assessments, provides intervention and treatment as indicated.

The clinical social worker is expected to be highly organized, work independently, receive minimal supervision and guidance, and is expected to identify opportunities for improvement and seek out responsibility to enhance their ability to perform the work required. They will be HIPAA and Joint Commission compliant, for the Service’s code of conduct and be guided by the BMC Mission, Vision and Values.

Utilizing clinical social work techniques and theory, the Palliative care clinical social worker consults on, assesses, and intervenes with high-risk patients and their families regarding the impact/amelioration of emotional and social problems in palliative and end-of-life care. Duties also include, but are not limited to, conducting bio-psychosocial assessments, planning and implementing effective interventions and treatments as indicated. The position consults with, collaborates, and communicates with a wide range of BMC staff and colleagues in the overall care of the patient, taking into consideration the structural issues that may be impacting patients’ health.

Direct Patient Care duties:
• Develop comprehensive bio-psychosocial assessments responsive to age appropriate and cultural needs and concerns; specific to patients with chronic and terminal illness and their families
• Assesses patient-family-caregiver to ascertain physical, psychological, socioeconomic, spiritual, and symptom management needs. Utilizes the palliative care department’s psychosocial assessment tool as a guideline.
• Incorporate assessments in developing and implementing intervention plans that enhance the clients’ abilities and decisions in palliative and end of life care
• Identify barriers and risk factors, including structural or systemic issues, that may impede symptom management, response to treatment and patient/family care
• Employ a range of clinical interventions such as psychotherapy (individuals, couples, families and group), psychosocial counseling, crisis intervention, care coordination, complementary therapies, information and referral and safety planning.
• Advocate on behalf of patients and families for access to services and resources
• Demonstrate a working knowledge of the theoretical, systemic, and bio-psychosocial factors essential to caring for patients with chronic and terminal illness and their families
• Conduct and/or participate in initial palliative care consults
• Provide psychosocial consultation on patient-care planning and patient/family management
• Recognize and intervene in issues of loss and adaptation along the illness continuum and through bereavement
• Assess bereavement risk
• Assist the palliative care team in facilitating patient-family-team meetings
• Reports any and all suspected cases of abuse and neglect and follows up to ensure patient receives timely comprehensive consultations and compliance with legal mandates.
• Appropriately document all practice with patients
• Maintains patient confidentiality according to hospital policy. Practices professional discretion when determining the inclusion of any patient information into medical record or department clinical record notes.
• Complies with departmental, regulatory and professional requirements for documentation recording.

Administrative and general duties:
• Work independently and collaboratively on an interdisciplinary team.
• Serve as an effective liaison between the palliative care service and social work service, including effecting necessary hand-offs with unit/service-based social work colleagues
• Work effectively as part of the palliative care team, as well as with various clinicians throughout the hospital
• Provide guidance and psychosocial dynamics instruction to interdisciplinary colleagues (I.e.: of psychosocial assessment, conducting family meetings, etc.).
• Attends scheduled palliative care service meetings and in-service education program offerings with punctuality and consistency.
• Maintains competency in areas of responsibility to ensure quality care.
• Obtains continuing education units necessary to maintain licensure.
• Conforms to hospital standards of conduct, including those pertaining to patient rights, so that the best possible patient care may be provided.
• Seeks assistance from individuals with the knowledge of specialized needs of patient groups, as appropriate.

Requires Master’s Degree from an accredited school of Social Work.

Certificates, Licenses, Registrations Required:
Requires a Massachusetts Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW) or Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW)
New graduates and out of state MSW-prepared Social Workers are expected to obtain their Massachusetts license within 90 days of hire date

• Full-time work experience in palliative care and end-of-life care required.
• Demonstrated experience working with diverse and high risk populations.
• Previous experience in hospital or healthcare setting strongly preferred.

Knowledge and Skills:
• Knowledge and a thorough understanding about palliative and end of life care
• Ability to work in an integrated interdisciplinary team
• Ability to understand the role of a palliative care social worker in a health care setting and to work independently in a complex, fast-paced, and dynamic environment
• Excellent organizational skills
• Effective communication skills. Bilingual or multi-lingual skills appropriate to the patient population served is a plus.
• Advanced interpersonal skills necessary to interact effectively with various healthcare professionals, and to develop and maintain effective therapeutic relationships with patients and families.
• Cultural humility and comfort with a wide range of racial and ethnic populations.


Attn: Amy Cann
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: (617) 414-7591

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