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Hospice care nurses act as a key link in the hospice care team. A hospice nurse is well versed with the medical needs and symptom management while also contributing to comfort measures and everyday care activities.

You need an interdisciplinary team to provide good hospice care to the patients. Hospice care nurses always provide very compassionate and educated care, making sure all the needs of the patient are met. Hospice nurses who are trained professionals, can help patients with a variety of things. Here are some of the skills of a hospice care nurse-

Skills of a Hospice Care Nurse :

  • They can thoroughly evaluate the symptoms and accurately assess the health conditions of the patients.
  • They can also guide caregivers to assess the symptoms, provide them with instructions and educate them about the patient’s medical needs.
  • They are well versed with the medical illnesses and treatments provided to the patient and can help monitor them.
  • They can provide wound care.
  • They can help manage other underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • They can help caregivers with post-surgical care and post-hospital care to make the transition more comfortable for patients.
  • In case the patient needs medical apparatus such as IV care, the nurses can help set it up and administer it as well.
skills of hospice nurse

What does a hospice care nurse do ?

The A*Med team consists of many skilled men and women who act as case managers. They’re registered nurses act as a bridge between the physicians and family members, lending their expertise as well as compassion to help create the right environment for the patients.

Depending on the services (long term, short term rehab, memory rehab) a home hospice care nurse will play many different roles in a patient’s life. Here are some of the things that hospice care nurses do :

1. Monitoring and Documenting Care

Monitoring and Documententing Care

Hospice care patients suffer from serious illnesses and hence need daily monitoring of their vital signs and keep a record of the symptoms and record any new health concerns that the patient is facing. This helps the physicians and doctors better understand the patient’s condition and help them deal with their illnesses.

2. Crisis Management

crisis management

For end-of-life patients, a rapid escalation of symptoms may be common. In many instances patients also experience new symptoms due to their deteriorating health.

Caretakers and family members may need assistance during times of crisis. This is where hospice care nurses can really help.

3. Emotional Support

Emotional Support

Hospice care and end-of-life treatment can be equally taxing for family members and loved ones. It takes a toll on their energy levels and their social life, and their emotional needs tend to be neglected when they are caring for a sick person. They may also be affected by the situation and need help and reassurance in many instances.

Hospice nurses are trained professionals who have experience dealing with difficult medical conditions as well as the emotional toll it takes on a family. Hence, they’re able to provide psychosocial support for the family members and the patients as well.

4. Administering Medicines

Administering Medicines

Patients suffering from chronic illness often have to rely on different kinds of medicines. Whether it is an oral pill or a suppository, hospice nurses are capable of administering different doses and types of medicines. This adds to the quality of healthcare and safety of the patients.

Ensuring that the patients take the right dose of medicine at the correct time, makes a big difference. It might sound like a small task, but requires technical know-how and takes much responsibility off the shoulders of the caretakers. The hospice nurse can accurately set up a schedule with proper dosage and times to help with medication administration.

5. Educating Family Caregivers

Educating Family Caregivers

They say that knowledge is power. Knowing the symptoms of the patients’ disease, understanding how the disease is progressing, how to manage pain, and the other symptoms of their disease are all valuable tools.

Hence, one of the integral roles of a hospice nurse is to educate family members and caregivers about the patient’s condition and how to best deal with their symptoms. This also promotes a sense of transparency as caregivers are able to understand and trust their nurse more and it can help them feel more in control when the situation is difficult. Information provided by caregivers is another beneficial tool and is very reassuring in many instances.

6. Managing Symptoms

Managing Symptoms

Registered hospice nurses are trained to tackle the symptoms of end-of-life patients. Often due to old age or the severity of the condition, many patients are unable to communicate their discomfort and caregivers have to rely on indirect signs like changes in the body language to understand how the patients are feeling.

This is fairly difficult to do and needs experience along with sharp observational skills which only comes with training. Professional nurses tend to fare better and can understand even the smallest changes in the patient’s condition when they are not able to communicate clearly. For example, rapid blinking often indicates some discomfort like pain. Trained hospice nurses play an important role in improving the quality of life of their patients by managing their symptoms professionally.

Conclusion

With these things in mind, it becomes important to select hospice care services that have a team of trained hospice nurses who can meet all these requirements and more. The qualities to look for in a hospice care nurse are:  patience, knowledge, attention to detail, empathy and kindness. Registered hospice nurses are best equipped to deal with the emotional, mental and physical needs of patients. 

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