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It takes an interdisciplinary team to meet the needs of hospice patients and their families. Here, more than anywhere, the “team approach” is evident – with all specialties sharing in the services provided. The following outline gives a brief description of the various team members and their roles: 

  • Medical Director: The hospice physician directs the medical care and works with the patient’s primary physician and the hospice team.

  • Primary Physician: The patient’s personal  physician is a key member of the hospice team. The primary physician assumes responsibility for the medical management of his/her patient’s treatment throughout the patient’s involvement in the hospice program.

  • Nursing Staff: Hospice nurses specialize in caring for patients with life-limiting illnesses. They are responsible for the direct skilled nursing care and coordinating support services provided to their patients.

  • Hospice Aides: The aides are skilled to assist the patient with bathing and other personal care activities. They may also assist with other activities such as light meals and basic hygiene.

  • Social Work/Counselor: The social worker/counselor is the principal contact for community resources. This individual provides direct  support and counseling for the patient and family.

  • Spiritual Care Coordinator:  Many patients feel that spiritual support is a very important element in their care. The hospice chaplain provides spiritual counsel, comfort and encouragement to the patient and family members.

  • Other Hospice Services: Many other services are provided directly by or coordinated through the hospice program. Included among these services may be dietary, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy services.

  • Bereavement Coordinator: Bereavement support to families can continue for up to 12 months after the death of the patient. A variety of grief support services including contacts, mailings of resource materials, and referrals to grief support groups are organized by the bereavement coordinator.

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