The Role of Social Workers in the End-of-Life Debate

Zaleski, Jennifer

Although many articles and books discuss the ethics of end-of-life issues, few publications are written specifi cally for social workers and social work students. The lack of relevant literature is problematic because social workers have different ethical obligations than other health care professions who work with clients who are contemplating assisted suicide. This paper will analyze the ethical dilemma that social workers face in end-of-life issues by reviewing the material available to social workers such as the NASW Code of Ethics and the relevant NASW Policy Statement. This paper fi nds that the different sources of information provided by NASW do not fully address the complexities surrounding the social work profession and end-of-life issues. Additional training and continuing education courses should be offered and a stronger policy statement is needed that explores the complexities faced by social workers in endof- life care.


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Columbia Social Work Review

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August 18, 2022