hospice, interdisciplinary communication, patient care teams



  1. Demiris, George PhD
  2. Washington, Karla MSW
  3. Doorenbos, Ardith Z. PhD, RN
  4. Oliver, Debra Parker PhD
  5. Wittenberg-Lyles, Elaine PhD


Hospice agencies are required to schedule and conduct interdisciplinary team meetings; however, little guidance exists as to how these meetings should be conducted. The purpose of this study was to apply the Time, Interaction, and Performance theory to gain a better understanding of interdisciplinary team meetings. A total of 81 patient care discussions on 24 patients by four interdisciplinary hospice teams were videotaped from December 2006 to April 2007 and transcribed. A total of 1,982 utterances were recorded. The utterances were analyzed using thematic content analysis. Nurses had the most utterances in relation to team production, defining patient needs, and meeting defined goals. Additionally, nurses had the most utterances in relation to scheduling and synchronization of activities. Two specific areas in need of enhancement were noted: improvement in team member support and communication effectiveness. Future interventions targeting these areas of need may increase coordination of services, which results in patient and family satisfaction and reduced overall healthcare costs.