The Palliative Care Counselor carries an independent case load and is responsible for initial assessments and recommendations about ongoing palliative care for all assigned patients throughout the hospital system. The Counselor contributes to the patient’s treatment plan through an understanding of the patient’s social, psychological and/or environmental needs in the context of their current medical condition(s) and prognosis. The Counselor provides psychosocial assessment, counseling, crisis intervention and information or referral services to patients and families. This position is expected to work closely with the rest of the Palliative Care Team (including the Case Manager on the patient’s assigned unit) to provide effective and seamless overall care management to all customers.
The Counselor provides patient care, treatment, and services within the scope of their license, certification, registration, and/or assessed competencies. Practice will be in accordance with laws and regulations and will adhere to established policies, procedures and practice guidelines.
- Assesses physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social and economic stresses of patient systems.
- Formulates a specific plan of intervention. All plans are developed in consultation with patient, family, and the interdisciplinary health care team. Proactively facilitates adjustment in the care plan or services when necessary to promote enhanced outcomes.
- Provides advocacy, assistance, support, counseling and crisis intervention to patients and families. In the case of suspected abuse/neglect/exploitation, the Counselor documents and reports where required.
- Assists with identification of appropriate resources and functions in a liaison role between the hospital and community in making palliative care resources available to the patient and family.
- Identifies post-discharge palliative care needs and community resources.
- Provides education about palliative care goals and resources to patient system.
- Works with Care Management and Financial Counseling when needed regarding patient’s financial situation.
- Maintains current knowledge and researches availability of palliative care resources.
- Maintains timely and accurate documentation in the patient medical record.
- Acts as a facilitator and coordinator to the interdisciplinary healthcare team with patients and families.
- Works with Case Management staff to provide seamless services to involved customers including patients, families, physicians, nursing and quality improvement team, etc.
- Participates in continuous quality improvement teams and activities.
- Participates in supporting the organization’s vision, mission and values and adheres to DeKalb Medical Standards of Behavior.
- Performs other duties as assigned to meet the goals and objectives of DeKalb Medical.
Minimum Education, Experience and Licensure Required:
- Master’s degree in Social Work or Counseling required
- Three (3) or more years job related experience required
- Previous social work, counseling, psychotherapy, discharge planning or equivalent in acute care setting
- Professional licensure strongly preferred: LCSW, LPC, LMSW, LAPC, LMFT
Skills, Knowledge and Abilities:
- Strong ability to form emotional connections with patient systems, ability to combine empathy and compassion with direct and clear communication
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills necessary to obtain information from patients, provide counseling to patients/families, and interact effectively with patients, families and healthcare staff.
- Analytical and interpersonal skills necessary to assess patient system’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs; assess levels of acceptance and resistance to diagnosis, prognosis and discharge plans; develop appropriate interventions; assist with discharge planning; and develop solutions to problems concerning patient’s mental and physical well being.
- Knowledge of and adherence to profession’s Code of Ethics.
- Basic working knowledge about medical condition(s) exhibited by assigned patients.
- Performs skills and competencies as defined in orientation & annual departmental competency checklist.
- Demonstrates and maintains competencies specific to patient population served.
Reports to: Director of Behavioral Health Services
Positions Supervised: BHS interns