One of the many benefits of hospice care is the interdisciplinary team of medical professionals who will care for the patient. This team is made up of volunteers, chaplains, social workers, aides, nurses, and medical directors. For this week’s blog, we’ll be taking a closer look at the role of the medical director.
Given the unique nature of the hospice industry, a medical director has slightly different duties and responsibilities than a general practice doctor. To fully understand how hospice works, it’s important to understand what exactly medical directors do.
The main focus of the medical director is to construct and administer the end-of-life care plan for each patient. This means the medical director will meet with each patient, assess their needs, and develop a care plan that meets the needs of each patient. They are then responsible for communicating this plan to the rest of the hospice team and any other caregivers that may be assisting in the care of the patient.
As the needs of the patient change, the medical director will adjust the plan accordingly and inform everyone of the changes. They are also the main resource for the rest of the team and the family in the event a question arises about the care plan or condition of the patient.
Medical directors spend a surprising amount of time talking with families and explaining what’s happening with the patient. This is one of the most important roles medical directors have. It’s imperative families fully understand the treatment plan and can make informed decisions.
On a similar note, medical directors are also tasked with carrying out the patient’s final wishes. If the patient has any advanced directives, like a DNR, it’s the medical director’s job to make sure everyone is aware of these wishes and does not deny them.
Lastly, the medical director is in charge of ensuring all safety and health standards are being met. It’s their job to use unbiased data to ensure the care provided is of the highest level and to check for any areas that need improvement.