The nurse plays a crucial role in the patient’s care plan starting from admission until the patient’s end-of-life journey is completed. At admission the nurse guides the patient and their loved ones through the hospice assessment and admissions processes and answer any questions the families may have during a time of uncertainty. The nurse may also assist families order specialty equipment and any medications the patient needs for pain relief and controlling symptoms. This is also the point at which the nurse will develop a plan of care for the patient and educate and share the plan with the family.
After admission and in the following days, weeks, or months of care, the nurse will consistently visit the patient and provide wound care if needed, administer medications, and take vital signs. During these visits the nurse is keeping the families in the loop with any medical updates or processes going forward.
There may be an emergency which requires a nurse’s immediate attention. In these situations a triage nurse will be dispatched and will arrive within 2 hours to attend to the emergency. The nurse will inform the hospice case manager or visiting nurse of the situation, as well as the patient’s physician, and determine whether an immediate visit is required.
One of the most important roles a nurse can play in a patient’s life is the promise that the patient will not have to die alone. That no patient should have to die alone is a long-held belief by Faith in Angels Hospice and a principle by which we have cared for almost 1,000 patients over the last 11 years. Faith in Angels Hospice will ensure that at least one member of a patient’s care team is present during the patient’s final hours. During these final hours, hospice nurses provide a loving, reassuring presence while providing comforting care that ensures the patient is as free from pain and discomfort as possible.
Nurses are a part of an interdisciplinary team consisting of physicians, case managers, and social workers which oversee the plan of care for every single patient, and they meet every 2 weeks to share any new information concerning the patient’s progression, discusses how to further improve the patient’s quality of life and comfort, and ensures that the care plan is in accordance with the patient’s end-of-life care wishes.
Usually, a family member who is also a caregiver for a patient will require information and education on how to appropriately and accurately provide care for their loved one. Because of this, Faith in Angels Hospice nurses help familiarize caregivers with the aspects of daily care, such as the administration of medications or aiding the patient in daily living activities. Nurses also help family caregivers understand what to expect as their loved one’s terminal illness progresses and how to adapt their care in accordance with their loved one’s changing needs.
There may come a time when a family caregiver feels fatigued and even depressed because of the circumstances of their caregiving which can sometimes be in overdrive. In these situations a family caregiver is entitled to respite care. Under hospice respite care, a family caregiver may request that their terminally-ill loved one be temporarily checked in to a professional care facility — such as a hospital, hospice inpatient care facility, or nursing home — for a period of up to 5 days per billing period. And during this respite care period a Faith in Angels Hospice nurse will care for the patient while the family member either gets some well-deserved rest or tends to others matters that might have gone neglected.
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My impressions of the services were comparable to some of the best agencies we dealt with. The nurses were very responsive and caring. If it hadn’t been for them, it would have been very difficult for me on my own. Their help was invaluable, the agency that was sending 24-hour care. The care that they provided was very valuable, and they did an absolutely terrific job in assisting me with his care in his final days of illness. I will definitely be giving a contribution to FIAH, and highly recommend them.”