Background: Meeting the needs of seriously ill SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) patients requires novel models of deploying health social workers (SWs) to expand the palliative care workforce. To inform such expansion, understanding the current state of health SWs' core palliative care skills is necessary. Methods: Following minimal training, health SWs in one New York City hospital were surveyed about their frequency, competence, and confidence in using core palliative care skills. Results: Of the 170 health SWs surveyed, 46 (27%) responded, of whom 21 (46%) and 24 (52%) had palliative care training before and during the COVID-19 surge, respectively. Health SWs reported a "moderate improvement"in the use of three skills: "identify a medical decision maker,""assess prognostic understanding,"and "coordinate care."There was "minimal decrease"to "no improvement"to "minimal improvement"in competence and confidence of skill use. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that educational initiatives can improve health SWs' use of core palliative care skills.
- palliative care
- social workers