Whole Person Team Care

Glen Komatsu, Denise Hess


In the rapidly changing environment of 21st century healthcare, effective interdisciplinary team-based care is a key ingredient in providing whole person care across the continuum. Interdisciplinary teams face significant issues and challenges in providing whole person care given the boundaries that exist between various healthcare disciplines. Systemic institutional barriers and hierarchies commonly work against team communication, cooperation, and collaboration. These work environments contribute to work-related stress, staff turnover, inefficient, lower quality care, burnout, and compassion fatigue. Ultimately team environments that do not foster team member well-being are unlikely to find success in creating environments that foster whole person care. Given these realities, teams who hope to provide whole-person care need strategies for creating and sustaining a team environment of self-awareness, self-compassion, mindfulness and non-judgmental presence.

This session will present the outcomes of three innovative approaches to interdisciplinary care team flourishing through case study analysis of hospital-based palliative care teams, and adult/pediatric hospice teams. The first intervention illustrates a process for developing and implementing a team retreat experience. Combining elements of team building, experiential learning and discussion of assigned readings, palliative care and hospice teams exhibit increased team trust, respect and communication across discipline boundaries. The second intervention demonstrates positive meaning-making through the use of a “spiritual narrative.” Through sustained reflection on a guiding metaphor, “spiritual narratives” enhance team identity formation, function, and sustainability. The third intervention outlines a model for group mindfulness meditation. Through regular practice of mindfulness meditation as an integrated component of the work day, team members sought to increase their self-awareness, presence, attunement and compassion in clinical interactions. Attendees of this workshop will be inspired and equipped to with new ways to enrich interdisciplinary team flourishing while providing excellent whole person care.


whole person care team; interdisciplinary team-based care

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26443/ijwpc.v1i1.23


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ISSN: 2291-918X, © McGill University Library