Relationships between psycho-social issues and physical symptoms of hong kong chinese palliative care patients: Insights into socialworkers' role in symptoms management

Wallace Chi Ho Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Social workers' uniqueness in providing psycho-social care in palliative care has been increasingly challenged in the twenty-first century. One area in which social workers may overlook their roles and contributions is in management of patients' physical symptoms. The literature mainly highlights the role of social workers in working with the psychosocial pain of palliative care patients but may address little the relationships between different psycho-social factors and the physical symptoms of patients. Therefore, this study aims to explore the relationships between different psycho-social factors and number of physical symptoms experienced by Hong Kong Chinese patients on admission to palliative care. Nine hundred and thirty-five patients were included in three years' clinical data. The presence of various psycho-social factors, such as being unaware of the diagnosis and prognosis, not ready to work out a death plan, alienating others and personal beliefs/ values was associated with a smaller number of physical symptoms. Patients with a higher anxiety levelwereassociatedwithagreaternumberof physicalsymptoms. Findings are discussed in relation to the possible impact of psycho-social factors on patients' reporting their symptoms. Implications of how social workers may provide contributions in the area of physical symptom management are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2342-2359
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number8
Early online date16 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

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