By Victor Montour
Hospice and Palliative Care nursing has much more depth and meaning than most are aware of. Hospice and palliative care nurses seek to help patients live life to its fullest during the most traumatic or vulnerable time in their lives. Rather than restrict what patients can do, hospice and palliative nurses help patients and families figure out the best plan to continue spending quality time with loved ones and doing the activities they enjoy most. We call this making the best days possible for our patients.
We have the ultimate respect for the lives of our patients and their families. While helping them live their best days possible, the hospice and palliative care team also allows each person to maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible. Because we help to support independence, our patients feel more respected, more comfortable and maintain their dignity while living their best life.
Hospice and palliative care team have the unique opportunity to work long-term with the same patients and families. This long-term partnership allows the nurse to develop develop a bond many with our patients and families that many nurses are not able to do. Often nurses are working with patients on a shorter time frame in a hospital or clinic setting. Whereas the hospice and palliative nurse becomes the one of the most important people in a patient and families lives as they near their last days.
Because of hospice and palliative nurses, patients’ and families are better prepared and experience less stress at the time of their loved one’s death. Nurses who work in hospice and palliative care are given a special opportunity to guide patients and their families through a very difficult time and hopefully provide all involved the closure, comfort and peace they need and deserve.
In addition to supporting families through the emotionally trying time of a loved one’s disease process or death, a hospice and palliative care nurse also provides education and resources so that family members are prepared to help care for and spend time with their loved one. These nurses empower families to take care of their loved ones at home or in the environment the patient calls home.
A relative who isn’t medically trained may be afraid to care for their loved one, but a hospice and palliative care nurse help to change that. Our nurses teach families how to manage symptoms when nursing staff is not present. The teaching provided is so that family can have the confidence that they are taking care of their loved ones to help create the best days possible.
Hospice and palliative care nursing make it possible for patients to pass away with dignity and pride while in the comfort of where they call home. Hospice nurses add to their patients’ quality of life by relieving discomfort and allowing them to spend their remaining days in the home they know and love rather than a hospital environment. These simple acts of caring make a meaningful impact on our families.
Hospice and palliative care nursing isn’t a job—it’s a calling for most hospice and Palliative Care nurses. Some nurses can fully embrace that calling and are able to find enjoyment in their work, despite the difficult and emotionally trying times they may experience. Hospice and palliative care nursing like most nursing is not easy, but it is worthwhile.
Caring for the loved ones of others during the twilight of their lives can obviously be an emotionally challenging task. But don’t mistake that challenge as something that’s completely sad and draining—as you can see there’s a lot of potential for a career in hospice and palliative care to be emotionally fulfilling.
If you think you’re ready to become a Hospice or Palliative Care nurse and provide a peaceful end-of-life setting for patients and their families—Call us at 970-776-8080 or 303-957-3101 or email us at email@example.com