The Oncology Care Team
Social Work

Oncology Social Workers


Social workers in oncology are members of the inpatient and outpatient multidisciplinary teams and provide care directly to patients and their families and care givers.


Social workers fill support and advocacy roles for patients/clients and work on behalf of patients in cooperation with varyious specialists

Social Work is also available to team members who cope daily with ongoing trauma of working with a palliative patient population.



Social Work Roles


 Illness Adjustment

- provide  illness adjustment counseling  to patients and  their families along- bereavement counseling and Advanced Planning.        

- assists patients with depression, anxiety, anticipatory grief, etc. 

This counseling varies in format to span individual, couple and family counseling. 

Practical Issues   

- facilitate patient access to resources and entitlements that may be available towithin the greater hospital network  and / or  those in the community at large   (i.e., Trillium Drug Plan, EI Compassion Leave, etc.)

 Family Coping /  Interpersonal Problems      

- could include coping of a patient’s children, their partner, and extended family, etc.

 Counselling of Accompanying Major Life Stresses

- could include such stresses as recent loss, conflict / abusive relationship, unemployment, etc.

 Existential Issues (meaning of illness, etc.)

- counseling patients in palliative phase of illness and those anticipating losses (sexual functioning, disfigurement, independence etc.)

 Support for Patients with Limited Support

- act as Advocate for this vulnerable patient population

 Discharge Planning / Placement  (inpatient only)

Not all patients are able to return home following admission.  Patients that require ongoing nursingwill  have  Social  Work  facilitate  applications  for private  Retirement  Homes,  Long  Term  Care facilities, Complex Continuing Care  (SMOL), or Palliative Care Unit  (SMOL).  Social Work leads the family in planning these discharges and helps with their losses of independence.


 Social Work is sometimes employed to facilitate better communication between the patient / familyand their medical team when more information would assist in overall coping.



Social Work strives to ensure there is a continuum of care for patients between both the Outpatient and Inpatient service.


There are 3 full time Registered Social Workers attached to this Service and they cover palliative care, hematology, stem cell,  oncology and some internal medicine patients.

in cooperation with varying specialists

Social Work services are available during any of the greater than 3000 patient visits serving people of the Southeastern Ontario region.

The economic impact of illness

In this video clip Cindy Fitzpatrick talks about the economic realities of a diagnosis like cancer.


Think about your present financial situation. Now imagine that you were diagnosed with an illness, like cancer, that interfered with your ability to complete your education and make an income.


What disability support do you have?


Based on your present budget, how much money could you afford to pay out of pocket for medications? Do you have a drug plan? What if you did not? What resources would you use to help pay for medication?

Social Work Resources



  • Internal financial assistance programs such as our KGH Auxiliary Fund and Adult Special Service Fund along with external sources like the Brenda Cupido Fund, Breast Cancer Action Kingston, Ontario Assistive Device Program (breast prosthetics, colostomy supplies, pressure garments, etc.), Ontario Trillium Drug Plan, etc.

  • Access community funds  (Assistive Device Program, Trillium Drug Plan, etc.)  on behalf of patients

  • income Assistance Programs:   Employment Insurance Illness / Compassion Leave Benefits, Canada Pension Plan, Ontario Disability Support Program, Ontario Works Assistance, etc.

  • Out of home placement facilities - Regional Palliative Care Unit  (SMOL)  provided that patients consent to DNR Orders, Complex Continuing Care  (PCU), Long Term Care, and Retirement Home facilities

  • Community Care Access Centre  (home care)

  • Community Outreach Palliative Care teams

  • Community palliative care volunteers  (Hospice Kingston & VON )

  • Bereaved Families of Ontario – Kingston Chapter

  • Quinte Thousand Island Lodge at Kingston General Hospital  (weekday accommodation for distance outpatients)

  • Canadian Cancer Society  (transportation services for all cancer-related travel), Cancer Connection, Cancer Centre Resource Library & Inpatient Resource Access program

  • Funeral services for families that require financial assistance  (Ontario Works program)