How Team Spirit Contributes to Better Care


There's something infectious about team spirit -- and it's a quality that can influence doctor, patient, and patient's family alike when there's a medical emergency.

Approaching a loved one's hospitalization or other medical emergency with a team mind-set can help you feel more empowered, less alone. The approach can bolster the spirits of the patient who senses this camaraderie, too. And it doesn't go unnoticed by the medical staff, who, in turn, view themselves less as lone-ranger saviors and more as part of a group effort.

Some ways to adopt a team approach to care:

Refer to yourselves as a team. Introduce yourselves to staff as "part of Dad's team." Or just use that kind of language informally to nursing staff and one another. You don't have to go as far as some families and make special T-shirts, but consider placing a sign in the hospital room: "Team Marvin."

Join in when doctors confer. It's OK to stand conspicuously in the group of doctors discussing your loved one's case, with your notepad in hand. You may be able to add insights that only a family member or someone who's been continuously at the person's side would notice. And you'll be communicating to medical staff that you're an active part of the process of caring for your loved one.

Be there when doctors make rounds. Find out when the doctors involved in your loved one's care come by each day, and make a point of being there. Making your presence known can translate to better care.

Refer to the team effort in your thank-you notes. Let nurses and doctors know you considered them part of a community of care.

over 5 years ago, said...

The team plan was how we handled and cared for my husband these past two years. As his spouse I tried to listen and learn what the doctors were saying; the actions they were recommending. I think I came across as sincere, and intuity to his situation. It was quite evident that two of his sons and their wives were in partnership with me. With my focusing on what was being said kept me calm and clear headed. Now, we are doing it again with the Hospice Team. He has been under their care for 4 weeks. I would sincerely recommend this approach. Thanks for a very insightful article.

over 5 years ago, said...

I've done these things many, many times over the years...and they work!