Inside the interdisciplinary team experiences of hospice social workers.J Soc Work End Life Palliat Care 2006; 2(3):7-21JS
Interdisciplinary teamwork is the foundation for the delivery of hospice care. This project interviewed 23 hospice social workers by telephone to explore their experiences with hospice team collaboration. Two research questions were explored: (1) What do social workers perceive as the strengths of interdisciplinary collaboration and (2) What are the challenges for social workers on interdisciplinary hospice teams? Participants identified issues related to team process, administrative processes, and barriers to effective team collaboration. Collaboration was said to be fostered by good communication, trust, roles, joint visitation, respect, team building activities, and administrative interest and support. Challenges to collaboration included large caseloads, a focus on the medical model, limited visits, personality and team conflict. Opportunities for improved collaboration between social workers and hospice team members exist through active evaluation of collaboration and strategic initiatives aimed at improving collaboration.