Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hospice Team Meetings and Caregivers (Video 2:25 mins.)

Many traditional hospice team meetings do not include caregivers. Much discussion has been generated regarding whether this practice is beneficial or not. Research at the University of North Texas assessed hospice team meetings with and without the presence of caregivers. This was done by videotaping both kinds of meetings. An analysis comparing them had these results:

Team meetings with participating caregivers had

1) better team outcomes.

2) more patient-centered goals.

3) increased discussion of biopsychosocial problems.

4) interdisciplinary care plans occurring more often.

These research findings on hospice team meetings indicate that having caregivers present at hospice team meetings adds significant benefits that can positively impact patient care.

Family caregivers provide almost 80% of caregiving in America. This
video addresses concerns of caregivers with hospice patients.

Frances Shani Parker, Author


  1. Interesting idea with some good data to back it up. I don't think any of the hospice agencies in Fort Worth are using it. Thus far, we haven't.
    We would need to pay attention to patient privacy issues, and allow extra time. We work hard at making sure IDT doesn't devolve into a jumping through a hoop. Stopping and praying for patients and families keeps us focused.

  2. Thanks for responding. Change is slow. Apparently, some hospices are doing this with success.


  3. I am not a professional, I found this group via Googe search. I was caregiver for my 88 year old mother for 8 years. The last 4 years she's been bedridden, due to Alzheimer's which prevented her learning to walk again after breaking her hip in a nursing home after a psychotic episode. I placed her in a nursing home in Jan. 2001 because I'm 60 and alone and she way on hospice in home care for a year (2009), because her muscles are seizing up and she chokes a lot. I've dealt with various fungal infections, bedsores, eating issues, swallowing and diet problems. All I need to say is that the person that's doing 24/7 care of a loved one comes up with solutions that work, which I've had CNAs and LPNs take note of, which work - such as using Athlete's foot powerds for underarm fungal infections and exotic mixtures of A&D ointment, zinc oxide and triple antibiotic oinment, together, for bacterial infections and grated potato to draw pus out of fungal toe infections and vitamin E mixed with honey for healing later stages of bedsores and - you name it - I've tried it. So, I think having a caregiver in our meetings is a good thing. I've never been to a meeting, but I can say that my unorthodox approaches have actually been embraced and noted and, hopefully, passed on to others with the same issues. We are not part-time, we don't knock off at 5 PM and go home to our "real" lives. Late stage care is a full time job and people who are providing it are doing the work in the trenches and have information to share. We may be "uneducated" and have no degrees, but we are also in the 5% of persons actually towing the line, so any time you are fortunate enough to have a family caregiver come to exchange concerns and ideas in a meeting, it's a wonderful idea and chance for exchanging ideas. Although we aren't trained medical professionals, neither are we clueless. Anyone with enough concern and the ability to show up should be readily included in my opinion. Of course, it depends on the person - I'm an old hippie with a history of studying natural diet and alternative therapies and herbs and such, but anyone with the heart to caregive probably has ideas that could be shared and help others. Bless you all and thank you for being there for us who are emotionally devastated.

  4. Thank you for sharing your perspective as a caregiver, Linda. It is good that you communicate with your mother's other caregivers. A bedside hospice volunteer and member of hospice teams for many years, I have never been invited to any hospice team meetings. However, there are hospice organizations that do invite caregivers and hospice volunteers to hospice team meetings. I wish you success in all you do.

  5. I think be it in the urban or in the rural setting, the presence of caregivers in hospice team meetings or any other patients' meeting yields a positive result. Having the patient's caregiver beside you gives an additional boost and moral support. It makes the patient speak more because he knows there is surely one person there in the room who understands him/her. My friend who is already a resident in one of the senior living communities (Charlotte NC) told me that when her circle of friends gather for a meeting, they have their caregivers with them to assist them with whatever activities they have. Really nice practice of giving care to seniors.