A report from the newest clinical staff groupie
Every Wednesday at HPCCR, the various care teams (made up mostly of clinical staff) gather as individual groups to discuss patients–current ones, those recently passed, and those who have just come under our care. These meetings are called Interdisciplinary Team meetings, or IDT meetings, as we refer to them here. I have worked for this organization for almost three years and I finally attended my first IDT meeting last week. Needless to say, I left that meeting in complete awe.
First of all, this is a three-hour long meeting. And the clinical team stayed engaged the entire time. The meeting began by honoring the patients that had passed away during the week. I watched as team members tied ribbons and small keepsakes in memory of their patients to a beautiful wreath which will hang on the conference room wall. I listened as they shared stories about these patients, the affection obvious on their faces and in their voices. I realized how often they have to say goodbye to people they have come to care about, and I think that’s when the awe first set in.
Then they moved on to their new and current caseloads, discussing each patient’s situation at length. One physician, several nurses, a few social workers, and two chaplains discussed cases and gave each other suggestions so that each patient’s mental, physical, and spiritual health could be maintained for as long as possible. Cases were shared not only for input and suggestions, but also as learning opportunities. I actually felt like I was back in school as I listened to the physician pose the question to those in the room about why a person might become nauseous. Then he walked them through the process of choosing the appropriate method for treating the nausea based on the correct underlying cause. Just listening to that discussion helped me to understand why our clinical staff has such an expertise in pain and symptom management. The awe remained with me the entire time I was there.
I’ve now had several days to process the experience of my first IDT meeting. Let me tell you, the awe has not diminished one bit. Because I heard some pretty uncomfortable stories while sitting in that room. Difficult relatives, unsanitary housing conditions, heart-breaking illness–it sounded like a terribly sad movie. But this was reality–for the patients and for everyone in that meeting. And this team handled every situation, every person with the utmost professionalism, compassion, respect, and even humor. I was, and continue to be, humbled by the group of exceptional human beings that make up this care team. And I am unashamed to admit that I am now the newest HPCCR clinical staff groupie. Lucky for them, though, I’m not much of a stalker.Explore posts in the same categories: hospice, palliative