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hospice, team training, interdisciplinary team



  1. Baldwin, Paula K. MA
  2. Wittenberg-Lyles, Elaine PhD
  3. Oliver, Debra Parker MSW, PhD
  4. Demiris, George PhD


Medicare requires all hospice agencies to conduct regular interdisciplinary team meetings to facilitate collaboration within the team and to coordinate holistic plans of patient care. This study takes a preliminary look at hospice agencies' preparation of interdisciplinary team members for collaboration within team meetings and aims to explain hospices' strategies for training and assessing the collaborative strength of interdisciplinary team meetings. Using a purposive sampling strategy of the 721 hospices listed as members of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a semistructured phone survey was administered to 145 hospice agencies over the phone. Survey items measured four aspects of team processes: nature and structure of the current team, organizational training procedures currently in place, perceived needs assessment for team training, and current evaluation practices. Current team training practices show that 61% receive training, with 33% reporting that training includes team building. More than half of the participants reported that their team needs ongoing training in case presentation, conflict resolution/communication/relationships, patient care/pain management, and teamwork. Although training is occurring, there are no structures in place to ensure that interdisciplinary team members receive adequate team communication training. Future work is needed to determine the best timing for training as well as training curriculum.