Bringing a narrative focus to the social work role in palliative care by Lisa Jones

In this presentation, Lisa Jones explains four ways of incorporating narrative approaches into palliative care social work. Along with their colleagues, Lisa adapted the ‘psychosocial assessment’ to include narrative questions, allowing for a different tenor of responses. Next came unpacking ‘unique outcomes’ such as ‘determination’. Lisa was also interested in exploring more the theme of ‘becoming a burden’. Finally Lisa looks at the important role of ‘outsider witness’ in working with people coming toward the end of their life. 


Author biography
I am grateful to live and work on Whadjuk Noongar Booja, Perth Western Australia. I work as a social worker, and at the time of recording this video was working in a community based palliative care service. I am always on the lookout for subordinate stories that are hidden, but waiting to be told or uncovered in some way. Narrative approaches have allowed me to work in ways that keep me anchored to the values and ethics I hold precious. 

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. jdezsenyi

    Hello Lisa. Thank you for showing that it is possible to add more to the standard information gathering psychosocial assessment. As a hospital social worker who works in a Cancer Care Centre, my Scope of Practice determines the timeframe spent with a patient. I regularly step outside of the guidelines to find time for storytelling. This is so important for people to be able to create a legacy for themselves. The healing that can occur through holding space for people at the end of life that allows them to weave narratives is profound.

    1. Lisa Jones

      Thanks so much for watching this video jdezsenyi, and for taking the time to make these comments. It’s very reassuring to hear that you are finding ways to side step or step outside your guidelines/ scope of practice. I appreciate this isn’t always easy and wonder if you have any tips on how you’ve made this possible? Have you perhaps developed your own guidelines and scope of practice? Your comments have helped me remember how much I loved meeting with people who were nearing the end of their physical lives, especially when receiving responses to questions that were expanding of peoples lives and stories rather than diminishing. Thank you so much. Kindest regards, Lisa

  2. Sarah Joy

    Dear Lisa. I very much enjoyed your presentation and thoughtfulness in the project and work that you and your colleagues do. Thank you for sharing with us- I have circulated to a number of my colleagues who work in this space also. Take care, Sarah

  3. Clare Abbotts

    I really enjoyed this Lisa. I’m a trainee counsellor in the UK, on placement in a hospice setting – so ‘ being a burden’ is very relevant. Thanks for this informative video!

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