Working Boundaries

The issue of boundaries is an important consideration when allied health professionals are working as part of a palliative care team, especially when many professionals work part-time. The boundaries concerned are those related to a health professional working with other health professionals, rather than the professional or personal boundaries with patients. Different health professionals' roles can sometimes overlap, causing confusion for patients and families, and for the other professionals in the team.

Each palliative care patient requires a number of different disciplines to be involved in their care. This often means that different teams are brought together on an ad hoc basis. Clarifying roles and expectations at the outset helps to reduce conflict within the team over care goals and promotes effective teamwork. Case managers will sometimes manage this process. Health practitioners who are working in isolated situations in rural and remote areas often have to manage multiple roles. In urban settings, as a member of a palliative care team, it may be useful to clarify which specific aspects of your job can be completed by another discipline and which cannot, ie, where the boundaries and overlaps exist. This may be influenced by areas of clinical competence and medico-legal issues.


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Last updated 05 October 2017