The Social Work Assessment Tool (SWAT)

Dona J. Reese, Mary Raymer, Stacy F. Orloff, Susan Gerbino, Rita Valade, Steve Dawson, Charlotte Butler, Michele Wise-Wright, Ruth Huber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper reports on the last of three National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization initiatives to move hospice and palliative care social workers into the patient/family outcomes arena: the development of the Social Work Assessment Tool. The experience of a team of practitioners and researchers is described, including results of two pilot studies and subsequent SWAT revisions. The major focus is on the current model performance improvement project, in which 19 social workers from 14 hospice and palliative care programs used the SWAT with 101 patients and 81 primary caregivers for a median of 44 days. Quantitative analysis indicated significant improvement in SWAT scores for patients from the first to the second social work visit (t = -2.60, df = 47, p.01). Qualitative interviewing of the social workers indicated some lack of readiness in the field to conduct quantitative outcomes measurement. Additional measures are needed in addition to the SWAT, including qualitative measures, and measures of mezzo and macro practice. Participants indicated that the SWAT was appropriate for use with economically and culturally diverse clients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-95
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2006


  • Cultural competence
  • Death anxiety
  • Denial
  • End-of-life care
  • Hospice
  • Palliative care
  • Social support
  • Social work outcomes
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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