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Social Work at Living Well

Palliative Care Social Work at the hospice offers support in a variety of ways for all patients and families accessing our services in the in-patient unit, living well centre or in the community.

Patients admitted for symptom control

For those in-patients admitted for symptom control, the Social Worker can assess what support is required to enable a safe return home considering the families’ needs as well. Who pays for the care the patient receives is complicated and the Social Worker can help navigate both Local Authority Social Services and NHS Continuing Healthcare.

Guidance can also be found by clicking here

National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded Nursing Care

Accessing services in the Living Well Centre

Social Work support for people accessing services in the Living Well Centre ensures that help is available to discuss care options and any problems at home whether financial or carer fatigue and stress, which might require improving or initiating packages of care.

Financial Support and Guidance

Financial worries are common as illness often means an inability to work and people are unsure about welfare benefit entitlement.

Benefits available to people receiving palliative care falls into 3 different kinds as follows: –
Extra benefits for disability or children: –
PIP, AA, DLA
Industrial injuries, disablement benefit, child benefit, guardian allowance
PLUS
Earnings replacement benefits
Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
Retirement pension
Carers allowance
Bereavement support payments
PLUS TOP UP Benefits
Universal credit
Pension credit
Income related Employment and Support Allowance
Income support
Housing benefit
Funeral payment

Eligibility for all benefits is complicated (again), but a useful tool is “turn 2 us” web site where you can feed in present income and miraculously it tells you what you should be entitled to and then the difficult bit is claiming it, however the Social Worker is here to help as well as Citizens Advice Bureau.

When returning home is not possible

When a return home is not possible the Social Worker can assist in choosing a care home that can provide not only the necessary care, but also ensure it is accessible to family members.

Again funding is complicated, but help and advice can be found from the following as well as the social worker: –

Age UK 0800 678 1602, National free advice line & fact sheets

https://www.ageuk.org.uk

Beacon 0345 548 0300

Provides advice and information on NHS Continuing Healthcare, self-help packs and access to legal help if needed (some charges made)

https://www.beaconchc.co.uk

Advance Care Planning

Advance Care Planning is crucial for people living with a life-limiting illness and the Social Worker provides not only emotional support, but practical help in making a will, assistance in completing legal treatment refusals or appointing a lasting power of attorney who could make treatment decisions for you if and when you became unable to make your own.

Useful guidance:-

https://www.england.nhs.uk/end-of-life-resources/advance-care-planning

Wednesday Group

The Hospice Wednesday Group is a weekly support group for patients and their families organised by the Social Worker and assisted by volunteers.

The groups provides an opportunity for people who find themselves in similar situations to support each other as they live with illness and undergo treatment. This may mean sharing experiences of diagnosis and treatment, but it is just as likely to provide an opportunity to talk about other areas of their lives. The group provides an opportunity to take part in everyday, enjoyable activities, knowing that appropriate support is always on hand.  It also provides a relaxed atmosphere for contact with the Social Worker to discuss any concerns.

The group visits a variety of places in the locality, including garden centres, seaside resorts, museums, theatres, country parks, craft centres and bird sanctuaries. We have even branched out to include ten pin bowling!  Lunch is enjoyed at many different locations around Cheshire, Wirral, and Merseyside. On some weeks, we meet at nearby village hall, where we have guest speakers, entertainers, quizzes, or just provide a place for people to chat.