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There are many counseling services available in hospice, including social worker services, chaplain or spiritual care services and bereavement counseling. The RN casemanager may recommend one of these services depending on her assessment of the needs. Your physician will approve (order) the provision of these services if you need them.

Social workers are extensively trained to counsel patients. The social workers used in hospice are specialists in "medical social work." They are familiar with the issues that confront families dealing with a terminal illness, and are prepared to help you take care of whatever issues confront you. In some cases, families may be confronted with confusing documents and forms which need to be filled out. Others may have needs for financial assistance or difficulties understanding correspondence or bills that have been left unpaid. There is often some "unfinished business" which needs to be taken care of.

In other situations, there is emotional/psychological "unfinished business" which needs attending to. The social workers are trained in helping you get through these demanding times and healing some of the emotional difficulties you may be going through. Depending on your beliefs about religion and your preferences, a priest, minister, or rabbi may be made available if you do not have a spiritual counselor of your own, even if you have not been to church or temple services for years.