Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hospice Team Meetings and Technology

Hospice services are a team effort. By law, hospice agencies must deliver services using an interdisciplinary approach to patient care. As technology evolves and becomes more accessible, it can play a larger and more beneficial role in the implementation of hospice teamwork. How effectively have hospice teams been using technology to address challenges faced at interdisciplinary team meetings?

In a study reported in the “International Journal of Electronic Healthcare,” 190 representatives of hospice agencies were surveyed by phone regarding the level of technology use in hospice Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) meetings. Survey results indicate that hospice team meetings often do not incorporate technology, even when it could be beneficial. Over half of the participants did not include computers at meetings, even though computers could help them access patient records and medication lists for designing care plans. Technology can better serve hospice agencies if they use it more to enhance the social and product functions of the group process at their team meetings.

You can read more here about this study on technology and hospice team meetings.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
“Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog”


  1. I am in total agreement with your statement.

    On the practical side, the view of documents, the sharing of information, the "whole" picture would be better served by using computers at the team meetings.

    On the sentimental side, I would love to see a video transmission of a family member or maybe the patient since they are a part of the team.

    I guess that is a little far fetched but I bet we will see it in some form one day. After all, the patient and family are a part of the interdisciplinary group.

  2. Your comments are good ones. I like both of the sides you mention.

    By the way, hospice volunteers are also part of the interdisciplinary team. But how often are they invited to any team meetings? The ones I know are only invited to meetings for other hospice volunteers and to general information meetings.

  3. I disagree about family members at IDT, that is what family conferences are good for. IDT is an important time for the healthcare team to compare notes and ideas without having to censor their thoughts. We often talk about topics that ultimately will not get shared in the home. Healthcare professionals need a private place to strategize. Our hospice does use computers, we do have volunteers in the meetings (often...) and we do many bedside team/family conferences, but our IDT is for the privacy of the team, it is also where we grieve our losses.

  4. I commend you and your hospice team for using computers, for including hospice volunteers at IDT meetings, and for doing "many bedside team/family conferences." You seem to be moving in a progressive direction. Thanks for your comments.

  5. According to the COP's the only people required to attend the IDT are
    i) A doctor of medicine or osteopathy (who is an employee or under contract with the hospice).
    (ii) A registered nurse.
    (iii) A social worker.
    (iv) A pastoral or other counselor.

    The Federal Register encourages the use of a patient-centered,
    interdisciplinary approach that recognizes the contributions of various skilled professionals and other support personnel and their interaction with each other to meet the patient’s needs;

    I agree that patient/family meetings are necessary and that IDG Team meetings are better suited for patient discussion. I continue to think it would be great to have input from the patient or family (even briefly)for the benefit of the team as is done at snf's. Wow! I've turned into a diplomat. I see both sides...

  6. Turning into a diplomat--Commenting on blogs will do that to you. (lol)

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