Social work and end-of-life care

Social work is important in end-of-life care

Coping financially at end of life: US and UK info

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121222 Finanical planning in eolAfter the shooting at a school in Connecticut, here’s another comment on the attitudes to guns and money in the US, together with a comment on the high cost of end-of-life care. In a series of articles from CNN Money on managing the costs at end of life (which commendably focuses on talking and planning in advance), one comment is a joke: ‘My grandad was 96 failing health he asked me if he should buy a gun and wander off to the forest, to end things. I said absolutely not that would be ridiculous, you should just rent the gun’.

To see the three articles (these are American, but it’s interesting to see how it pans out in the US; British information below):

Link to the article on funeral costs.

Link to the article on advance care planning.

Link to the article on planning for survivors.

The focus of these articles is on each of the three phases of financial issues that arise in end-of-life care: planning for the costs of the illness, the funeral and financial reconstruction after the death.

These came out in research colleagues and I did evaluating a project for St Christopher’s Hospice, which was published at the time:

Bechelet, L., Heal, R., Leam, C. and Payne, M. (2008) Empowering carers to reconstruct their finances. Practice 20(4): 223-34.

Link to the journal website. But you have to pay – we don’t get anything from your payment – it’s all an outrageous level of profit for the publisher.

Margaret Reith and I also generalised this when we wrote our book:

Reith, M. and Payne, M. (2009) Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care. Chicago: Lyceum; Bristol: Policy Press.

Link to the American publisher’s website: Lyceum Books.

Link to the British publisher’s website: Policy Press.

Here’s the table we created:

Table 5.4 Financial issues at different stages in the illness for caregivers

Stage What happens financially
1   Disease progression  creates financial stress for patient and family Employed patients and caregivers may lose some or all of income; long-term disability may lead to changes in social security, pensions, insurance or other benefits.Retirement pensions or other insurance or social security rights may be triggered.Additional costs of condition, treatments, travel to hospital.
2   Death Additional costs for funeral. Death or bereavement insurance or benefits compensate.Caregivers no longer receive financial support for their role.Caregivers may become entitled to widows’ dependents or other insurance or social security benefits
3   Post-death Long-term costs of illness or funeral.Long-term financial reconstruction for family.

Source: Developed from Bechelet et al (2008)

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Written by Malcolm Payne

7 January 2013 at 11:06 am

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