The importance of multidisciplinary teamwork and team climate for relational coordination among teams delivering care to older patients

J Adv Nurs. 2014 Apr;70(4):791-9. doi: 10.1111/jan.12233. Epub 2013 Aug 26.


Aim: To identify predictors of relational coordination among professionals delivering care to older patients.

Background: Relational coordination is known to enhance quality of care in hospitals. The underlying mechanisms, however, remain poorly understood.

Design: This cross-sectional study was part of a larger evaluation study examining the opportunity to prevent loss of function in older patients due to hospitalization in the Netherlands.

Methods: This study was performed in spring 2010 among team members delivering care to older hospitalized patients (192 respondents; 44% response rate) in one hospital. Relational coordination was measured by the Relational Coordination survey; team climate by the Team Climate Inventory and questions were asked about participation in multidisciplinary team meetings and disciplines represented in these meetings. To account for the hierarchical structure, a multilevel analysis was performed.

Results: Correlation analysis revealed a positive relationship among being female, being a nurse and relational coordination; medical specialists showed a negative relationship. The number of disciplines represented during multidisciplinary team meetings and team climate were positively related with relational coordination. The multilevel analysis showed a positive relationship between the number of disciplines represented during multidisciplinary team meetings and team climate with relational coordination.

Conclusions: The enhancement of team climate and attendance of diverse professionals during multidisciplinary team meetings are expected to improve relational coordination. Furthermore, this study underscores the importance of enhancing relational coordination between medical specialists and other professionals.

Keywords: hospital care; multidisciplinary teamwork; nursing; older patients; relational coordination; team climate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Care Team*