Welcome to the informative guide for your Palliative Care class!
What does a palliative care nurse do? Palliative care nurses work with patients who are near death and provide bereavement support to families after death occurs. To that end, palliative care and hospice nurses help create an environment of pain relief and comfort for their patients, tending to their physical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs. These nurses often work with other healthcare providers to meet the unique needs of patients and their families.
Palliative Care nurses help treat patients that are approaching the end of their lives. They can work with short-term or long-term patients depending on types of illnesses. This type of care can be emotionally and mentally challenging and they may need to practice self-care techniques to optimize their overall physical and mental health. These nurses provide endless support and comfort to both counsel and educate patients and their family members. One of their overall goals is to help patients accept their mortality and complete unfinished tasks or wishes. They are essential workers that work closely with patients and their family members to answer questions regarding their loved one’s conditions and prognosis as well as help make decisions for end-of-life care.
Like palliative care, hospice provides comprehensive comfort care as well as support for the family, but, in hospice, attempts to cure the person's illness are stopped. Hospice is provided for a person with a terminal illness whose doctor believes he or she has 6 months or less to live if the illness runs its natural course.
Hospice is an approach to care, so it is not tied to a specific place. It can be offered in two types of settings—at home or in a facility such as a nursing home, hospital, or even in a separate hospice center.