Social workers are integral members of the interdisciplinary palliative care team (IDT), addressing psychological and social needs to support patients living with serious illness, and their families. Because of their specialized training, social workers play a critical role on the team—communicating with patients and families.

This toolkit provides online courses and tools to help social workers meet the needs of patients and families, and to help palliative care programs use best practices to integrate social work into the work of the IDT.

What’s in the Toolkit

CAPC courses and learning pathways for social workers, including CAPC Designation status.

Learning Pathways

Find CAPC-curated courses and tools based on your specialty, discipline, or area of interest. CAPC courses provide free continuing education credits for all staff at member organizations, and ABIM MOC points for physicians.

Training Recommendations for Long-Term Care Social Workers

Recommended CAPC courses for long-term care social workers. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2019.

Online Clinical Training Courses For All Clinicians

Online training curriculum for all specialties and disciplines to strengthen their care of patients living with serious illness. Free continuing education credits for all, and physicians receive ABIM MOC points for select courses.

Recommended tools for palliative care social workers.

NASW Standards for Palliative and End of Life Care
About Palliative Care

Definition of palliative care and how it improves quality of life for patients living with a serious illness, and their families.

National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, 4th edition

The National Consensus Project (NCP) Clinical Practice Guidelines are the national standard for high quality palliative care. National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, 2018.

Communication Phrases in Palliative Care

Phrases to use when talking to members/patients and their families about prognosis, advance planning, and quality of life.

PCSW List serv

A place to ask questions and learn from fellow social workers (and includes an archive when you register)

Billing for Social Work Services in Palliative Care

A slide deck detailing the opportunities and considerations for palliative care teams billing for social work services. Courtesy of Brandi Rutan, LCSW, LISW-CP, Four Seasons Clinical Social Worker and Tranquil Counseling & Consulting, LLC and Christine Lau, RN, LCSW, APHSW-C, Sr. Director of Serious Illness Care Management for Teleios and VP of Operations for UNC Community Palliative Care

Template notes for documenting patient care.

Community Palliative Care Social Work Note

Shared by Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro.

Social Work Consultation Note

Shared by Central Baptist Hospital.

Inpatient Initial Social Work Note

Shared by Hospital of University of Pennsylvania.

Strategies for creating a healthy, high-functioning interdisciplinary palliative care team.

Building and Supporting Effective Palliative Care Teams

Hire and onboard your staff, manage program operations, and ensure a healthy high-functioning team using this toolkit.

Strategies for Maximizing the Health/Wellness of Palliative Care Teams

Monograph on processes that promote team health. Center to Advance Palliative Care, 2014.

Quick Tips #5: Running Effective Interdisciplinary Team Patient Care Meetings

Best practices in efficient, effective IDT meetings.

Improving Team Effectiveness: An Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) Panel Discussion

Skill-building resources for palliative care social workers.

Social Work Certification (NASW)

Certification in hospice and palliative care is available through the National Association of Social Workers for a bachelor's or master's level social worker.

Advanced Palliative and Hospice Social Work Certification (APHSW-C)

The APHSW-C certification recognizes bachelor’s and master’s level social workers with experience, specialized skills, and competency in hospice and palliative social work. The APHSW-C assures the public that certified practitioners have the knowledge and skills to provide safe, high-quality care at an advanced level. Individuals eligible for certification include experienced hospice and palliative care social workers that practice in clinical and academic settings in the United States and Canada.

Oncology Social Work Certification (BOSW-C)

The mission of the Board of Oncology Social Work Certification is to promote excellence in psychosocial care for oncology patients, families, caregivers, and their community through the process of Oncology Social Work Certification.

Social Work Hospice & Palliative Care Network (SWHPN)

Palliative care social work leadership and professional development.

SWHPN Resources

Resources for palliative care social workers.

A catalog of palliative care position descriptions that can be modified for use with new hires.

Palliative Care Social Work Supervisor Position Description

Shared by Meridian Health.

Palliative Care Social Worker Position Description

Shared by Meridian Health.

AIM Transitions Medical Social Worker Position Description

Shared by Sutter Health-Advanced Illness Management (AIM).

Social Worker (Palliative Outpatient) Position Description

Shared by OACIS/Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Resources for pediatric palliative care social workers.

Pediatric Palliative Care

In this Virtual Office Hour, ask questions related to strategic planning, program development, communication techniques, and managing operations for the pediatric palliative care program.

Pediatric Palliative Care Delivery

Guidance on program design and program operations for the pediatric palliative care program.

Courageous Parents Network

Empowering parents and families of children living with serious illness.

Make-A-Wish Foundation
Kids Grief Canada
Five Wishes

Connect with peers and field experts on CAPC’s faculty: just-in-time problem solving, shared advice, new ideas, and peer mentoring.

Role of the Social Worker on the Interdisciplinary Team

Ask questions about the role of the social worker on the palliative care team, including distinguishing the role from other disciplines on the team and navigating competing demands on palliative care social workers from the social work department.

Improving Team Effectiveness and Resilience

Part of the Improving Team Effectiveness series, this session covers building and sustaining a stable, effective interdisciplinary team. Ask questions on topics such as hiring and onboarding, role clarity, team communication, and preventing burnout.

Virtual Office Hours

Small-group consulting calls with national subject matter experts.

Case Reviews

CAPC Master Clinician case reviews of complex patient cases cover topics such as pain management, family dynamics, service partnerships, disease-specific care, spiritual care, and more.