Patients facing disease processes that cannot be cured or managed may be placed on hospice, either at home or in an inpatient setting. At Santé, our home health and hospice nurses strive to maintain end of life comfort and dignity for these patients. Maintaining comfort and dignity requires compassion, respect for the patient and his or her family, and personal strength. During end of life, nurses and doctors take medications, cares, family, patient wishes, and spiritual and emotional needs into affect.
The patient’s family, doctor, and care team put careful thought and consideration into medication administration during end of life. In many cases, the patient or the family may choose to discontinue life-extending medications and continue with medications that control pain and provide comfort.
Personal Cares in the Hospice Setting
Personal cares also change during end of life. Many patients and their families opt to limit cares to those that preserve dignity and improve comfort. These typically involve periodic repositioning, keeping the mouth and lips moist, managing incontinence, and providing periodic bed baths for comfort.
Family Needs During End of Life
Home health and hospice nurses understand that families are vulnerable during their loved one’s end of life phase. In many cases, hospice nurses counsel family members, providing emotional and spiritual support. They aim to provide relief for family caregivers and peace of mind for all family members during this difficult time.
The Patient’s Wishes
Ideally, the patient’s wishes have been made known while the he or she was still able to communicate effectively and lucidly. Honoring these wishes is critical during end of life. Home health and hospices nurses are responsible for ensuring the patient’s desires are honored in terms of medications, medical interventions, religious practices, family members present, and more.
Spiritual and Emotional Needs
Patients experiencing end of life need more than medical care; their spiritual and emotional needs are of equal importance to hospice staff. Hospice staff can assist in meeting spiritual and emotional needs by listening, asking questions, and arranging for a member of the clergy to visit.
At Santé, our caring home health and hospice professionals can help to make this difficult time as peaceful as possible. Contact us here to learn more.