Rie Kobayashi, PhD, LMSW

Interdisciplinary collaboration: Factors that aid or hinder collaborative work in a hospice setting

I have had the privilege of working as a hospice social worker for the last 12 years. The inspiration for my dissertation project came from working with a group of hospice professionals on a hospice interdisciplinary team. In order to receive Medicare funding, hospices must develop individualized plans of care to meet the bio-psychosocial-spiritual needs of their clients.

The aim of this research study was to deepen an understanding of the processes of interdisciplinary collaboration in hospice and the impact of variables that aid or hinder collaborative work. The study explored interdisciplinary team members’ perceptions of their own participation, the participation of other team members, and perceived outcomes of collaboration. Also examined was the impact of certain variables on perceived level of interdisciplinary collaboration. Variables that were identified as possibly influencing interdisciplinary collaboration included professional role, structural/organizational characteristics, personal characteristics, history of collaboration, quality of care, and job satisfaction. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed.

I hope that findings from this research will provide useful information for hospice practitioners and their administrators as well as clinicians on teams in other settings in enhancing collaborative work that leads to improved client care.