Hospice Team: Who We Are and How We Care

Edited by Rabbi Dr. Chaim Joseph Wender, F.LBC and Patricia Ellen Morrison, L.C.S.W.

ISBN 978-1-938870-83-5
6 x 9 paper
208 pages
Copyright © 2019

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Product Description

Ranked 4th in Bookauthority’s 40 Best Hospice Care Books of All Time!
Named a 2023 Doody’s Core Title®!

There are many misunderstandings and apprehensions surrounding hospice, but this series of 21 essays from 9 disciplines of hospice care demonstrate that the end of life can be filled with profound comfort and hope.

From the experiences of those who work in this field, you will discover what hospice truly is and the many ways in which the care team supports those who are approaching the end of life. The efficacy of hospice care lies in the careful coordination and individual contributions of the interdisciplinary team members. Their deeply personal, compelling, and honest accounts express a unifying theme of working together to lessen pain and suffering—physical, spiritual, emotional, familial—at a very vulnerable time for patients and their loved ones. The essays also dispel common misconceptions about hospice, including the idea that it supports the hastening of death.

If you or someone close to you is currently in hospice or soon will be, this book provides an enlightening and comforting read. Professionals in hospice care will find valuable affirmation of their work, and anyone interested in pursuing a hospice career will gain insightful perspectives. All readers will discover how the grief, helplessness, and fear that invariably accompany dying and death are lightened by the boundless compassion and caring of these committed team members.


Written from different gender, racial, and cultural backgrounds, these inspiring essays reflect the breadth of expertise in the hospice team, which includes

  • Physicians
  • Certified Nurse Assistants
  • Chaplains
  • Bereavement Counselors
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Music Therapists
  • Volunteers
  • Integrative Therapist/Volunteer Coordinator


Through personal and compelling stories, the team members describe how they:

  • explain conditions and what to expect to patients and families
  • are present to walk family members through the end of life
  • use faith and/or individual spirituality to honor each person
  • forge unforgettable relationships with patients and families
  • chose this career and why many never want to leave the profession

Format: E-book
e-ISBN 978-1-938870-85-9

E-book available through:

About the Editors
by Faustino Gonzalez


  1. The Physicians
  2. The Nurses
  3. The Certified Nurse Assistants
  4. The Social Workers
  5. The Chaplains
  6. The Music Therapists
  7. The Bereavement Counselors
  8. The Volunteers and Integrative Therapists


Discussion Questions and Scenarios

The Hospice Team: Who We Are and How We Care (Excerpt) by Health Professions Press on Scribd

Rabbi Dr. Chaim Joseph Wender, F.LBC, is a retired Rabbinical Coordinator at the Hospice of Palm Beach County. Originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, he earned his undergraduate degree in Theology with a Jewish Studies Concentration from Georgetown University (Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude). His Master’s degree is in Rabbinics and Hellenistics (Scheuer Foundation Fellow) from the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, and his rabbinic ordination is from the Leo Baeck College in London, England. Rabbi Dr. Wender earned his Doctor of Ministry degree (specializing in Judaism and Gerontology) from the Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Rabbi Dr. Wender served for 29 years as a Reform rabbi, and was awarded the title of Fellow of Leo Baeck College (F.LBC) in recognition of 25 years in the rabbinate in 2004. He served as Rabbinical Coordinator for Hospice of Palm Beach County, from 2008 until his retirement in May of 2017.

Patricia Ellen Morrison, L.C.S.W., currently manages and maintains a private practice in Palm Beach County, Florida, in Clinical Psychotherapy, specializing in aging issues, depression, anxiety, grief, and loss. She also serves as a hospice social worker with Trustbridge Health. Originally from New York City, Patricia received her Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice, and undergraduate degree in Psychology from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. She received her teacher certification in Early Childhood Education from Towson State College in Towson, Maryland. She earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. She received a license as a Clinical Social Worker (L.C.S.W.) from the State of Florida and New York.

Patricia joined the faculty of Florida Atlantic University, as an adjunct instructor, where she taught from 2008 to 2013, in the School of Social Work. She joined the staff of Hospice of Palm Beach County, now Trustbridge, in 2010. She has worked on home teams, facility teams, and hospice inpatient units. Ms. Morrison took two sabbaticals to work as a social worker in New York City, first with Hebrew Home in Riverdale, then with Visiting Nurses of New York, primarily on the Mount Sinai Palliative Care Unit.

12 reviews for Hospice Team: Who We Are and How We Care

  1. Administrator

    “I have spent forty years in medical centers, but it was only after reading these essays that I came to fully appreciate what hospice brings to humanity. This is a great and needed addition to the medical and social literature.”
    Lowell M. Greenbaum, Ph.D.
    Medical College of Georgia, Emeritus, Dean of Graduate Studies, and VP for Research

  2. Administrator

    “Reading each team member’s perspective in this book is like polishing the facets on a diamond and watching the light reflect brighter with each author’s story…. This needs to be read by all involved in hospice care to affirm our compassion and drive to make certain every day in hospice is a reflection of individual, intentional, and encompassing care.”
    Elizabeth Przekop, M.Ed., RN
    Director of Operations of the Kindred-Curo Hospice in San Diego

  3. Administrator

    “This book exemplifies the meaning and purpose of working with terminally ill individuals. This is a comprehensive book examining grief and loss from a multi-discipline perspective. It is a brilliantly written and all-inclusive resource that provides practice wisdom to working in palliative care. It assists us in understanding the emotional pain as well as emotional strength of those professionals working in this field. Most importantly it provides a deeper appreciation of the motivation of hospice care workers and how this work is so misunderstood by many. I have been searching for a book like this for years, especially to augment my grief and loss classes. This is the first book of major importance that emphasizes the introspective stories of those who work in palliative care. It is extremely well written, insightful and thoroughly up to date. A must read for anyone interested not just in hospice care but grief and loss in general.”
    —Diane G. Sherman, Ph.D., MSW, Professor, Phyllis & Harvey Sandler School of Social Work, Florida Atlantic University

  4. Administrator

    “I was deeply moved by the life story pieces and the examples of the members of the interdisciplinary team. It is clear that they live this challenging and moving work so fully. They appreciate the blessings and gifts brought by each member to the whole process of working with patients and their families. Working in hospice with such a variety of professional colleagues is an enriching, fulfilling and holy work. These men and women share in special moments with their patients, the families and each other toward the end of life, bringing hope and renewal, a sense of meaning and purpose and blessing. This book will be useful to anyone who chooses this field in finding their footing in this most satisfying calling.”

    —Rabbi Charles P. Rabinowitz, BCC (Board Certified Chaplain)
    Chaplain, the Caring Hospice of New York

  5. Administrator

    “Many people prefer not to know about hospices, associating them with decline and death. How foolish! Partly because we all have to come to terms with the end of life, be it of loved ones or our own….and partly because this book shows that hospices are also places of optimism and comfort, where individuals find peace and family relationships are restored. The essays reveal the remarkable energy that goes into making hospices so caring – from professional nurses to volunteer visitors to music therapists. I have learnt more from reading them than I have in 38 years of being a congregational minister. This book is essential for all who care about life and death.”

    —Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE
    Maidenhead Synagogue, Berks, UK

  6. Administrator

    “…a singular and unique work…. Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, ‘The Hospice Team: Who We Are and How We Care’ is a critically important and unreservedly recommended basic core addition to community, hospice care facilities, college, and university library Hospice Care collections in general, and End of Life supplemental studies reading lists in particular.”

    Midwest Book Review
    Review by James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief

  7. Administrator

    The Hospice Team demystifies the delivery of hospice care and humanizes the providers in the process. This is important, as candid discussion about hospice care can be a comfort during a potentially fearful time for patients and their families.”
    Social Work Today
    Review by Ann M. Callahan, PHD, LCSW, Eastern Kentucky University

  8. Administrator

    “This book addresses a ‘gap’ in the medical and social literature, and would be an invaluable augmentation of gerontology courses in any helping discipline that seek to address death and dying or bereavement and loss.”
    Educational Gerontology
    Review by Lyn Holley, PhD, The Chuck Powell Professor of Gerontology, University of Nebraska at Omaha

  9. Administrator

    “…Each [chapter is] a heartfelt anecdote in accessible language describing the lived experiences of a practitioner, the patient, and the family…. [This] collection of anecdotes is practical, organized, and well-focused on the interconnectedness of an interdisciplinary team to meet the biopsychosocial and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients and their families. The book can be used as supplemental and supportive material to enhance social work education, practicing social workers, other professionals, and caregivers in their understanding of how an interdisciplinary team collaborates in providing the hospice care needs of patients and families.”
    The New Social Worker®: The Social Work Careers Magazine
    Review by Bertha Ramona Saldana De Jesus, DSW, MSW, Assistant Professor of Social Work and BASW Online Coordinator, Millersville University, Millersville Pennsylvania

  10. Administrator

    “[This] book offers a wealth of insight about the practice of hospice today and is, in many respects, an inspiring tribute to it.”
    CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly
    Review by Rabbi Jonathan R. Katz, Community Chaplain and Director, Jewish Healing Program at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of the Suncoast

  11. Administrator

    “The book includes two authors who are board-certified music therapists who define music therapy, specifically how it impacts hospice patients and family members based on a variety of end-of-life needs….[Their] examples embody current music therapy practice and inform the reader of what music therapy can ‘look like’ in hospice.

    The Hospice Team: Who We Are and How We Care contributes to a better understanding of the hospice philosophy and the provision of services, and also supports the purpose of the Palliative and Hospice Education and Training Act, as it provides education and insight into the various disciplines working in the hospice setting. This understanding can lead to improved interdisciplinary respect and collaboration in the hospice and palliative setting.”
    Journal of Music Therapy
    Review by Jennifer Fiore, B.M.E., M.M.E., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Music Therapy, Western Michigan University

  12. Administrator

    “This book looks at Hospice through the eyes and experiences of the members of the Hospice team. Their accounts for what hospice has meant not only to the dying client and family members but to them and how it affected their lives was an eye opener for me. Reading what it was like for each of these team members impacted me in many ways. It certainly made me more compassionate for these care givers. It also enlightened me in how the recipients of their care felt when they received these gentle and benevolent services. This is a great read for anyone looking at going into this service or for those who want a deep dive into the feelings that are brought about by Hospice care.”
    Cindy Fronning, RN-BC, IP-BC, AS-BC, RAC-CT, CDONA, FACDONA
    NADONA (National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration) Master Trainer and Director of Education

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