When faced with the end of life a family member, you may experience a whirlwind of emotions. Having the right people around your loved one can make a dramatic difference in your ability to provide love and support. Nurses role in end of life care typically involves providing care for the comfort and relief of symptoms. Nurses also act as advocates to help ensure that the patient’s and the family’s final wishes are met. If you have a loved one receiving end of life care by an in-home care agency, learn more about the importance of a nurses role in end of life care and the benefits they offer.
One of the main responsibilities of nurses who provide end of life care relates to direct, hands-on care. Each day, nurses must provide a wide range of services to help ensure that their patients remain as comfortable and pain-free as possible. These healthcare services may include the administration of medications, reading and documentation of vital signs, and wound care. As primary caregivers in most in-home care agency environments, nurses are also responsible for making sure that the patient is clean and hygienic to discourage infection.
Management of Pain Symptoms
Nurses are also responsible for helping patients manage their pain. In addition to assessing pain levels, a nurse may implement a variety of strategies to help reduce discomfort experienced by the patient. This may include administering pain relief medications prescribed by the patient’s physician, offering comfort tools such as blankets and pillows to reduce temperature sensitivity, or applying lotions or creams when skin irritation occurs. Direct care services should be delivered in a way that maintains the patient’s dignity and allows the person to have as much control over decisions as possible.
Nurses must possess strong communication skills to masterfully receive and exchange information with patients and family. Nurses who provide end of life care are trained to communicate in a way that is concise, yet sensitive. A personalized approach is often taken to meet the unique communication needs of each patient and to recognize when a person may be in pain or distressed. Nurses must also be comfortable initiating or taking part in conversations related to the end of life process. This is a fundamental nursing skill that all medical professionals in this field must have to be truly successful.
In some cases, nurses must also act as messengers or the middle man between patients and their families. Patients often times feel uncomfortable telling their loved ones how they are feeling. Sometimes patients may hide their emotions or are unsure about sharing secrets. Nurses role in end of life care is to help these patients express how they are feeling or share secrets or final wishes that they may want their loved ones to know. Patients who are unable to speak on their own behalf may need additional support in communication. This may include helping patients and their families establish advance care planning decisions.
In addition to all their many roles, nurses also act as healthcare educators for patients and family members. They help patients better understand and deal with their illnesses or ailments by discussing their health issues and how they affect the body and mind. They also help families by providing more in-depth information about how certain health conditions affect a person towards the end of their life. This can be especially useful for patients who choose to remain in their own home aided by an in-home care agency. The ability to provide health information can also provide families with peace of mind.
Nurses play an instrumental part in providing comforting care for patients experiencing the difficulties that come with an expected end of life. However, no matter how long family members have had to deal with the situation it often never gets easier. Experienced nurses in this field can help family members better understand what they can expect as their loved one’s life-limiting illness or condition progresses. They can also provide tips and strategies on how to adjust their care in accordance with the patient’s changing healthcare needs. Having a reliable source of information can be invaluable to family members with loved ones facing end of life.
Providing round-the-clock care for terminally ill loved ones can leave family members feeling isolated and overwhelmed. When a nurse from an in-home care agency is able to make regular visits to your loved one, you can obtain the emotional support needed from someone who understands the difficult situation. Nurses often become a confidant for family members who may have difficulty talking to other people about their end of life views. Nurses who provide end of life care understand the importance of being present and showing compassion to family members dealing with death or dying.
With their therapeutic nature and training in end of life compassion, nurses are also able to provide emotional support to terminally ill patients. They know how to encourage patients to share their feelings or concerns in a positive way to help them experience relief from pent-up emotions. They also know the best ways to help patients open up and express themselves in a way that does not make the patient feel embarrassed or judged. Nurses in this field are able to act as both caregivers and support individuals at a time when families need it most. By offering encouragement, families are able to gain some relief and focus more on their loved one.
Contact Comfort Home Care For End of Life Nursing Care
It can be difficult for family members to navigate end of life circumstances. They can quickly become confused when faced with a number of difficult decisions. Nurses primary duty is to provide patients and their loved ones with comprehensive and compassionate end of life healthcare. This includes providing direct healthcare services and recognizing end of life symptoms. Nurses also collaborate with other members of the patient’s healthcare team to ensure proper pain management and support. Knowing a nurses role in end of life care is crucial for your loved one. If you have a loved one with a life-limiting illness, contact an in-home care agency about end of life nursing care.