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Healthcare Staffing Challenges in a Crisis: How to “Unpigeonhole” Your Interdisciplinary Team


The start of this new decade brought a myriad of challenges to the healthcare space.

One of the most notable was the heightening of an already tenuous hospice staffing situation. Whether due to fear of exposure to COVID-19, burnout from working long hours, losing patients who were isolated from family or a lack of personal protective equipment, hospice organizations faced many unforeseen obstacles.

One of hospice leadership’s key responsibilities is determining how to best overcome these challenges and implement new practices effectively.

Axxess recently partnered with the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) to present proven tips to help hospice and palliative care teams work better together to address these far-reaching concerns.

Embrace Change for the Better

A crisis within an organization is an opportunity for culture change. Changing the culture of an organization in the wake of an ongoing crisis, like the coronavirus pandemic, is a monumental shift that can make even the most established hospice organizations feel hesitant. However, it is vital when an organization’s team members are deeply affected by the ongoing circumstances.

Change may not come overnight or easily. Yet, when communication is clear and the teams are aligned, it certainly can happen. One segment of hospice care that should be included in this effort is the interdisciplinary group (IDG). The members of this vital team have been pigeonholed into performing a fraction of their skills, stifling their full potential to give exceptional care.

The proposal that your interdisciplinary group can evolve into a team structure takes five key ingredients:

  • Building trust
  • Mastering conflict
  • Achieving commitment
  • Embracing accountability
  • Focusing on results

This requires continuous effort because a shift beyond working in relative silos to a team-based approach can help propel progress.

Focusing on Strengths, Not Tasks

Additionally, you can accelerate that shift by identifying what strengths each team member possesses.

This requires changing your mindset from “What tasks are they individually responsible for?” to “What individual strengths best contribute to this patient’s care?”

That shift helps in several ways. Each team member is happier and more fulfilled doing work where they excel and feel passionate. Additionally, the team works more effectively, leading to patients receiving better care. This correlation can be noted in patient satisfaction surveys and in the relationship dynamics between caregivers, their patients and their family members.

Many things are changing in the healthcare space as a result of this global pandemic. Taking care of your teams by shifting the culture and “unpigeonholing” key members creates an impact and provides certainty in an uncertain time.

Axxess Hospice, a comprehensive hospice software, includes helpful IDG features for instant communication and transparency while eliminating tedious IDG meeting preparation. The summary report is HIPAA-compliant and affords the team more time to focus on providing exceptional patient care.

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