Role of Registered Nurse in Hospice Student’s First name, Middle initial and Last name Name of University Prof. First and Last name of lecturer March 7, 2012 Role of Registered Nurse in Hospice Registered Nurses (RN) have a pivotal role in hospice care, a setting that is designed to provide comprehensive physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual care to terminally ill patients and their families…
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Their goal is to reduce suffering, control symptoms and restore functional capacity of patients suffering from incurable, progressive illnesses. A RN in a hospice setting has to fill several roles from medication and supervision to emotional support. They also have to be extremely sensitive to the patient’s personal, cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices. Patients in hospice care are not on any type of life-prolonging medical treatment (Hussain, 2011). Instead, they are put on pain management and other comfort measures to assist them in the dying process (Hussain, 2011). Since it is not easy to care for patients with terminal illnesses, the role of a Registered Nurse is pivotal in ensuring that the patients and their families have a supportive and caring environment. A Registered Nurse in hospice care is required to perform a variety of roles as listed below: Case Manager As a case manager, the RN is responsible for assessing and managing the patient’s care. Each patient is assigned one case manager so that they can build a trusting relationship and ensure continuity of care. The RN is also the eyes and ears of the hospice physician and, therefore, must have expert assessment skills. As part of their role, the RN monitors the vital signs, manage medications, especially pain medications and take care of the overall needs of the patient (Morrow, 2009). They are required to assess pain, symptoms, nutritional status, bowel functions, safety, and psychosocial-spiritual concerns of the patient and the family (Knight & Gunten, 2004). The RN also plays a major role in educating the family about the disease progression, use of medications, daily care needs and other aspects of the overall plan of care (Knight & Gunten, 2004). If a patient has a food craving late at night, the RN will also arrange for someone to get it from the store (Morrow, 2009). If the patient is at home, the nurse may also help the family members in doing some of the household chores, so that the family can focus on their loved one. In a hospice setting, the RN has the unique opportunity to witness a patient’s last moments and therefore, they must be extremely compassionate and empathetic. They serve as advocates for the patient, ensuring that all activities work towards the benefit of the patient. They should also be a critical thinker so as to ensure that the entire stay of the patient in the hospice facility is supportive and caring. The RN is also required to educate and supervise the nursing assistants to coordinate care for the patient. Intake and Admission Nurse As an intake and admissions nurse, the RN is often the first hospice personnel to meet the patient. They meet with the patient and their family and spend a considerable amount of time with them explaining the philosophy of hospice and developing an appropriate plan of care (Morrow, 2009). The RN is also responsible for conducting a complete assessment of the patient and determining the needs and preparedness of the patient to stay in a hospice setting (Morrow, 2009). They then consult with the hospice physician before admitting a patient into the facility. Once the patient is admitted, the RN orders the required medications and equipment and begins educating the patient and the family about hospice care. Triage Nurse As a triage nurse, the RN
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