New Resource to help people benefit from social work at the end of their life

‘I think the most important support is time, the giving of time, people finding time for you, and the freedom to ask questions. Having someone independent to go to just to talk through and to say ‘I’m upset, I’m confused’ and just to gain reassurance, because it’s an awful thing to do, to have to take your loved one and leave them behind – a dreadful thing…’ (Bereaved husband in his sixties)

This resource aims to ensure that people benefit from good social work at the end of their life, and that those close to them are supported during this time and into bereavement.

Palliative, end of life and bereavement care matters to everyone. Around half a million people die each year in the UK. All of us need to be supported to consider what will matter to us when we are at the end of our lives, to plan ahead and to live well until we die.

Social work has an important role in the delivery of meaningful palliative, end of life and bereavement care. Some social workers are palliative care social workers, working in services which specialise in this area of support. All social workers will encounter people who are experiencing the end of life or bereavement.

The resource sets out what palliative care social work is, the role and expertise of palliative care social workers and what palliative care social work can offer. It aims to help people who need palliative, end of life and bereavement care to understand how social work can help them. The resource also helps all social workers to be ready to support people who are dying or bereaved

The resource finishes with actions that everyone can take to get more out of palliative care social work and social work at end of life and in bereavement.

All social workers can use this resource to consider their practice. They can promote this resource, take it to the highest level within their organisation and advocate for the importance of social work in palliative, end of life and bereavement care.

Ensuring that everyone has a good life until they die and a good death must be everybody’s business. Social workers have an important contribution to make. This resources sets out how other agencies, employers and commissioners can support them to provide this.

The resource was developed by the Association of Palliative Care Social Workers in collaboration with the former College of Social Work. We worked with Making Waves Lived Experience Network/Open Futures Research to ensure that the resource is informed by the voices of people with lived experience. It is published by the British Association of Social Workers, the independent voice of social work in the UK.

The resource is available at:

Leave a Reply