Interdisciplinary Hospice Team Processes and Multidimensional Pain: A Qualitative Study


Hospice teams may address multidimensional pain through the synergistic interaction of team members from various professional disciplines during regularly scheduled team meetings. However, the occurrence of that critical exchange has not been adequately described or documented. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore two processes in team pain palliation: communication and collaboration. Data were gathered through individual interviews and a 1-year observation of team members from two hospices (physicians, nurses, aides, chaplains, social workers). Utilizing constant comparison, 14 final thematic categories were discovered. Use of biopsychosocial/spiritual terms by all team members meant that the team had the common language needed to communicate about multidimensional pain. Interviews and observation revealed a gap in translating multidisciplinary communication in team meetings into collaborative acts for pain treatment. In addition, structural influences inhibited creativity in pain palliation. There was no mutual understanding of the purpose for team meetings, no recognition of the need to reflect on team process, or common definition of leadership. Social work roles in hospice should include leadership that moves teams toward interdisciplinary care for multidimensional pain.


School of Social Work

Document Type





hospice, interdisciplinary collaboration, multidisciplinary, pain, qualitative

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Social Work in End-of-Life and Palliative Care