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Counsellor - Family Support Team Position Description

Position Description

Position Title:

Counsellor – Inpatient & Community


Direct Reports:




Hibiscus Hospice



August 2017


Reporting To:

Family Support Team Leader



0.6 FTE (24 hours per week)


Position Objective

To provide counselling services to inpatient and community patients and families/whanau who access Hibiscus Hospice services. As part of a multidisciplinary team, co-ordinate care, offer advice and support education to other staff or health care providers.


Key Accountabilities and  Expected Results


Expected Results

Counselling Care

  • Receives referrals from the Family Support Team Leader, nursing and medical staff and assesses the psychosocial needs of patients and families
  • Provides individual and family counselling to IPU and community patients and families which supports individual needs
  • Continues to follow-up patients/family members in the community and following bereavement, provides on-going counselling where appropriate
  • Consistently draws on evidence-based practice and literature, applies evidence to patient care 
  • Regularly reviews cases with the Family Support Team Leader
  • Maintains accurate patient documentation and records.  Analyses all assessments and clinical information in a succinct and logical manner, ensuring PalCare is accurate and up to date
  • Makes appropriate referrals to other professional services within and outside of Hospice as required
  • Presents cases clearly, consistently and professionally to the multidisciplinary team contributing effectively in patient management
  • Independently assesses the patient’s needs.  Identifies their goals and works with the patient and family towards achieving them
  • Demonstrates an ability to explore the personal resources of families/carers in order to ensure patients are cared for in the place of their choice
  • Demonstrates knowledge, sensitivity and respect for patients and families from different religious and cultural background and sexual orientation
  • Attends meetings as required


  • Communicates both verbally and in writing to patients whose first language may not be English in a manner that they understand, using interpreters appropriately and/or appropriate resource people
  • Involves patients and carers in decision making, offering them informed choices, respecting their views and cultural beliefs
  • Pro-actively manages potentially dissatisfied patients/relatives, anticipating potential problems
  • Is aware of current service issues, current activities and organisation wide information
  • Effectively leads and/or attends and actively participates in team meetings, advocating for patients and families where appropriate
  • Facilitates debriefing of IPU or CPC  staff in relation to patient and family related matters
  • Attends regular monthly supervision

Implementation & Facilitation of Support Groups

  • Organises and facilitates support groups in collaboration with the Family Support Team
  • Completes patient notes in PalCare relevant to their attendance at the support group

Liaison with the Community

  • Liaises, develops, and maintains appropriate links with community agencies involved in the support of people on current caseload


  • Contributes to staff training and education, both in-house and in the community such as Fundamental of Palliative Care, Annual Updates and In-Service Training.

Any other Reasonable Duties

  • Any other reasonable duties as required by the Family Support Team Leader in order to support a happy, safe and high performing work environment.
  • Meet employee responsibilities in accordance with Appendix 1.


Important Working Relationships


  • Medical Team
  • Nursing Teams
  • Quality Team
  • HR Manager
  • Administration Team
  • Volunteers
  • Staff across the Northern Hospice Alliance


  • Patients, families and visitors to the Hospices
  • General Practitioners/Primary Healthcare Services
  • Aged Residential Care Facilities
  • Other Health and Social Service Agencies


Person Specification



  • Current  relevant Professional  Annual Practising Certificate
  • Counselling/Psychology degree or postgraduate Certificate/Diploma with appropriate counselling experience required to fit this post
  • Excellent verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills
  • Able to work with complex team structures in negotiation, counselling and maintenance of co-operative working relationships
  • Demonstrated knowledge and skills in working with families facing loss
  • Ability to work autonomously whilst working as part of the MDT
  • Plans work to meet agreed deadlines, seeks advice and includes other appropriately
  • Demonstrated conceptual, analytical and strategic thinking skills
  • Able to effectively articulate and support a rational counselling position and perspective when working with personnel/teams from other disciplines
  • Has a valid full NZ driving license
  • Current issues for counselling and health in general
  • Current government healthcare policies, codes, guidelines and legislation
  • Current relevant professional standards and codes
  • Local community, its key issues and customers
  • Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and biculturalism
  • Experience with counselling practice and working with a variety of people – particularly people dealing with grief and loss
  • Broad-based experience and knowledge of counselling and ability to develop resources and information pertaining to the needs of palliative care and Hospice patients and families
  • Experience in a palliative care setting
  • Postgraduate in Palliative Care
  • Some experience in preparing and presenting to groups would be an advantage



Appendix 1

General Responsibilities of an Employee of the Northern Hospice Alliance.

The following responsibilities are shared by all Northern Hospice Alliance staff. Please read this section carefully as it contains important information that applies to your role every day.

General Responsibilities


What’s Expected of You

Professional Standards

  • Maintain any qualifications, including registrations and practising certificates, required for legal and safe practice
  • Keep yourself up to date on knowledge, best practices and legislation relating to your work
  • Make a personal contribution towards effective and efficient working relationships with your team and other NHA Teams
  • Ensure you carry out your work in a way that is customer focused and meets professional standards
  • In conjunction with your manager, identify your own training needs and plan to meet these needs
  • Manage your own time and prioritise your work effectively.

Legislation, Regulations and Organisational Policies

  • Be familiar with and adhere to the provision of:
  • All relevant acts and regulations
  • All organisational policies
  • Relevant procedure manuals.

Health and Safety

  • Carry out work in a healthy and safe manner
  • Encourage and assist others to work in the same way
  • Report and rectify any unsafe workplace conditions/practices
  • Complete an accident report for any accident, injury or near miss which has taken place at work in a timely manner
  • Co-operate with, support and promote health and safety actions and initiatives in the workplace
  • Read and understand the health and safety manual and the emergency plan
  • Keep your knowledge of identified hazards up-to-date.


  • Adhere to the Privacy Act 1993 and the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 and subsequent amendments in regard to the non-disclosure of information
  • Strict confidentiality of patient, applicant and employee information is maintained at all times.


  • Thoughtful of other people and take time to put yourself in other people shoes
  • Positive about what we can achieve, high standards and motivate others to achieve
  • Open, flexible and accepting of challenges
  • Treat others as you would like to be treated
  • Honest with yourself and with others
  • Resources are used thoughtfully and effectively
  • Behave and work in a responsible and ethical manner that is consistent with your profession
  • Understand that everyone has a voice and therefore you listen, acknowledge and respond appropriately
  • Recognise that each individual brings unique qualities to contribute to the group.