The compassionate, caring demeanor of the hospice nurse will be felt from the very beginning of your hospice journey, starting with the informational visit and admission, and guide you through the final stages of your or your loved one’s end-of-life journey. Nurses play a vital role in the hospice care team and in many of the day-to-day patient care activities.
The admission nurse works closely with your physician to understand your needs, and in conjunction with the hospice medical director, whether or not you are eligible for hospice care. The nurse works with the patient, family, and caregivers to develop an initial plan of care to ensure that immediate needs are met including medications, supplies, durable medical equipment such as a hospital bed, wheelchair, or walker. The assessment and insight of the admissions nurse is invaluable in ensuring pain and symptoms are well managed from your first hospice visit moving forward and your goals of care are being discussed to guide the rest of the interdisciplinary team.
Hospice registered nurse case managers oversee the direction and coordination of all aspects of the patient’s care including the care and support provided to the family and caregivers. The case manager, in close consultation with the primary physician, hospice medical director, and the rest of the hospice care team determines how care resources are allocated. They develop the plan of care, determine what types of counseling, education, and care the patient, patient’s family, and patient’s caregivers will need before, during, and after the patient’s death.
There will be times when your case manager is not available and you will be seen by a hospice visit nurse. Visit nurses supplement the care provided by a patient’s hospice nurse case manager. They have access to your plan of care and medication records and are part of the interdisciplinary team that is assigned to your care. They perform routine care duties, administer medications, periodic wound care, catheter management, drain management, document all care provided, and ensure proper care coordination with the nurse case manager.
How Hospice Nurses Provide Care
- Provide direct, hands-on patient care
- Provide education regarding medications, disease process, end-of-life processes
- Educate regarding aspects of daily care a family caregiver might not be familiar with
- Help family caregivers understand what to expect as their loved one’s terminal illness progresses
- Provide emotional support to patients, families, and caregivers
Communicate needs of caregivers to the interdisciplinary team
- Provide a compassionate, calm presence with insights towards what patients and caregivers are going through