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Social work intervention for persons experiencing oncological disease as a life crisis: from denial towards hope


The central concern of this article is the problem of social work in the system of health surveillance providing services for persons experiencing oncological disease. The qualitative study seeks to reveal the nature of social work helping the person experiencing oncological disease, as a life crisis, to move from denial towards hope. The results of the research revealed that in the dynamic of crisis the respondents experience a great deal of strong emotional concerns: fear, suffering, meaninglessness, joy. In social work the response to the person experiencing oncological disease, as a life crisis, is directed towards the strategies of intervention where the main instruments are ability to listen and be together with the client, stimulate the client’s reflexion of feelings, create empathic and dialogical relationship leading to the transformation of person’s identity. Holistic view of client requires an existential approach of social work and abilities of a social worker to create authentic interpersonal relationship with the client through therapeutic consultation. Due to the specification of oncological disease and its complex consequences it is very important to apply a systematic approach providing help to a client at micro, mezzo and macro levels. At micro level it is necessary to strengthen the client’s system and offer help to it, at mezzo - expand the provision and availability of communities’ psychosocial services, at macro - develop health surveillance in social work, stimulate intersector collaboration ensuring provision and continuation of personalized complex services. Having summarized the results of the research, it can be stated that it is necessary to establish systematic changes in health surveillance and develop social work consultancy practice helping the client and their family reconcile with the reality of life leading to the changes of values.
Keywords: crisis, oncological disease, crisis intervention, existential social work, systematicapproach to social work.


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