A hospice nurse provides care to persons who have been given six months or less to live and have chosen hospice care as their final option. A hospice nurse focuses on comfort and quality of life as part of the hospice philosophy of care. Individualized care is provided based on each person’s specific needs.
Hospice nurse – Duties
While hospice nurses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, they are all responsible for assisting patients in specific ways. Most hospice patients require this type of assistance as they near the end of their lives, and all hospice nurses in whatever function must be qualified and prepared to assist them. The following are some of their responsibilities:
- Keeping track of and documenting the patient’s vital signs. Checking on a patient’s health on a frequent basis is an important element of hospice care. This may be a condition that must be met on a daily or multiple-times-a-day basis. A hospice RN will monitor the patient’s vital signs, keep track of any medical concerns or issues, and know what all of the symptoms and indications indicate.
- Medication administration. Hospice patients frequently require medicine, which hospice RNs are responsible for administering. Whether it’s needles, tablets, or IV medication, hospice RNs are in charge of recognizing when patients need medicine, how much they need, and making sure it’s given correctly.
- Taking care of symptoms and suffering. Helping a patient feel comfortable as they approach death is a big aspect of hospice nursing. Pain medication is typically given to these patients to make them feel better rather than to help them get well. Hospice registered nurses are in charge of talking to patients to determine if they are in pain, assisting with medication administration, and documenting a patient’s symptoms and medications.
- Providing assistance in times of crisis. End-of-life care frequently entails a patient being placed in a crisis scenario when they are near death. A hospice RN is in charge of assisting family members and caregivers in crisis situations. Hospice patients are frequently DNR, or do not resuscitate, which implies that if they stop breathing or have heart difficulties, hospice registered nurses will not attempt to prolong their lives. In a crisis situation, it’s vital for a hospice RN to know when to intervene and when not to intervene, to explain things to family, caregivers, and even the patient, and to keep the focus on the patient and their family.