Interdisciplinary Teams In Palliative Care : A Critical Reflection
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Postgraduate Medicine
The notion of the interdisciplinary team as integral to the delivery of palliative care emerges clearly and consistently in palliative care philosophy and practice discourses. Many studies have found clear benefits of interdisciplinary palliative care teams. The empirical evidence supporting such teams, however, is not all positive. It is perhaps timely and appropriate to examine critically how palliative care interdisciplinary teams provide optimum support for patients and families. This article examines the notion that palliative care interdisciplinary teams are universally or inevitably effective and identifies potential barriers and constraints to effective teamwork. In particular, it is suggested that there is a need for careful examination of how teams function in the realm of 'psychosocial' care, and ways to look beyond rhetoric are articulated in order to facilitate teams to function more efficiently to provide optimum patient care.