Resources and StaffThe hospice team works as an interdisciplinary team and it functions based on a coordinated plan of care. The members of the family and the patient himself are considered integrated part of the team and they participate in the regular meetings between the clinical staff and the patient’s physician. The members of the hospice team include the primary physician, the hospice physician, nurse, social worker, chaplain, home health aide and volunteers. Nevertheless, the team may include an occupational or physical therapist, psychologist, pharmacist and nutritionist as well as an art and music therapist.
The primary physician has the task of cooperating with the hospice team by providing it with the patient’s medical history. Also, he is in charge with overseeing the medical care through regular communication with the hospice team, providing orders for medication and tests. The level of involvement of the primary physician in the care of a terminally ill patient is however determined by the physician himself with the hospice medical director.
The hospice physician makes home visits when needed, provides advise on pain and symptoms control, communicates with the patient and his family on the progress of the disease and the appropriate measures to be taken. The nurse visits the patient for at least 2 times a week, assesses pain, symptoms and psychosocial-spiritual concerns and it may as well be involved in training and supervising nursing assistants. Also the nurse provides support to the family when it comes to grief. The home health aide assists the patient with daily activities such as dressing and it provides other services depending on the need of the patient. The social worker is the liaison with community agencies, assists the family in finding services to solve financial needs and other legal matters and arranges for discharge planning, funeral or burial arrangements. The chaplain provides the patient and the family with spiritual counseling.