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Elevating the Hospice IDG Meeting

The hospice interdisciplinary group (IDG) is more than just a key element for delivering compliant, quality care for patients at the end of life. The IDG is made up of people who come together to discuss the care of a patient in one of their most vulnerable moments. Navigating the group dynamics of the IDG can have a major impact on patient care and the support their families receive.

By incorporating a person-centered approach to the IDG meeting, the gathering is elevated and everyone involved, both care team members and the patients and families they discuss, has a better experience. During the 2023 Axxess Growth, Innovation and Leadership Experience (AGILE), Ryan Klaustermeier, RN, Vice President of Professional Services for Axxess, guided attendees through a process that elevates the IDG by developing better relationships between members.

Building and Maintaining Healthy Relationships

A focus on investing in employee growth and maintaining healthy relationships within the interdisciplinary team can lead to better patient outcomes, Klaustermeier observes. That starts with hiring employees who align with the company culture and ensuring those employees feel valued in their roles.

“High engagement is the result of organizational conditions, as well as individual behavior,” Klaustermeier said. “To have a highly engaged team, you have to assure that efforts are aligned with mission and vision, and your culture has to be well-defined, and you have to empower your people.”

He also stressed that mutual respect, transparency and open communication are crucial for building strong relationships within the team.

Technology Can Empower Teams

Using technology and automation to streamline processes can improve patient experiences and give interdisciplinary teams more time to focus on the human element of care.

“Automation of processes is my answer,” Klaustermeier said. “Automate, automate, automate. Leverage technology to automate as many things as you possibly can because, again, that allows more team connectivity time, more meaningful time connected as a team, more opportunities for self-growth.”

Staff turnover in hospice and the wider care at home industry has been a struggle for years. A 2022 survey found that it can cost $65,000 to recruit a registered nurse and $20,000 for a certified nursing assistant. Retention, meanwhile, is much less expensive and can yield a significant return on investment. Klaustermeier said that’s another opportunity to use technology to support the IDG and reduce turnover.

“Leveraging efficiency with technology is essential to promoting a cohesive team,” Klaustermeier said. “I promise, promise, promise that you will spend way less money on learning tools than you will on turnover.”

Elevated Thinking and Building Trust

Encouraging higher-level thinking skills and problem-solving abilities on an individual level can lead to more effective IDGs.

“If you want to retain your team, you have to promote higher-level thinking,” Klaustermeier said.

Building trust and transparency is also important to stimulating that higher level of thinking and empowering people to develop and use problem-solving skills. In order to build trust, Klaustermeier offered six steps:

  1. Lead by example.
  2. Communicate openly.
  3. Know each other personally.
  4. Don’t place blame.
  5. Discourage cliques.
  6. Remember that failing isn’t fatal; keep trying.

Klaustermeier highlighted the importance of following through and being genuine in communication.

“Trust is established by walking the walk,” Klaustermeier said. “That means embracing and reflecting your mission and vision with what you do. To be respectful is to take the time to understand where the other person is coming from and respecting their experience as a reality for them.”

With more than 250 attendees, more than 40 sponsors and countless connections made, AGILE 2023 was a massive success for everyone. Check out the recap video and mark your calendar for AGILE 2024, April 21-24 in Dallas.


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