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The Roll of the RN in Hospice - Research Paper Example

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The Roll of the RN in Hospice

They are required to spend several hours a day with these patients who suffer from a variety of diseases like cancer, AIDS, coronary heart diseases or pulmonary diseases and therefore become emotional caretakers of these patients. Hence, they work towards ensuring that the last moments of the patient and their family is spent as comfortably as possible. To this extent, patients in hospice are given interdisciplinary care that is coordinated and managed by a registered nurse on a day-to-day basis. The RN therefore plays a crucial role as an advocate for the patient and their family and as a manager of a multidisciplinary professional team. The RN in hospice care aims to improve the quality of life of patients by avoiding interventions that may prove to be burdensome. They provide palliative care that focuses on relieving the suffering, control symptoms and restore functional capacity of the patients (Morrow, 2009). The medications administered by the registered nurses to the patients are not intended to help them in their recovery, but rather to provide relief from pain and other troubling symptoms so as to make the remaining days of their life as comfortable as possible. Therefore, registered nurses help patients and their families to steer through the challenges of the end of life journey. Their role requires them to be extremely sensitive to the patient’s personal, cultural and religious values, beliefs and practices. Since they deal with a dying person every day, they are required to have an exceptional temperament with great caring, patience and resolve. Greene (1984) therefore states that the paramount role of a registered nurse in hospice care is to “help the hospice patient to live each day as fully and as autonomously as possible” (p. 204). The roles of a registered nurse in hospice care vary from case management to being a liaison. These roles are elaborated in the following section: Intake and Admission Nurse The registered nurse is usually the first hospice personnel to meet the patient. She explains the philosophy of hospice care clearly to the patient and the family and develops and appropriate plan of care (Morrow, 2009). The RN is also required to conduct a complete assessment of the patient and determine the needs and preparedness of the patient to stay in a hospice setting (Morrow, 2009). Following the approval from the hospice physician, the patient is admitted and the RN orders the required medications, supplies and equipment for the patient and educates the patient and the family about hospice care. Case Manager The RN is responsible for conducting daily assessment of what the patient is capable of and decides what kind of support is needed. Each patient is assigned one case manager so that they can build a trusting relationship and ensure continuity of care. As a case manager, the RN must use her technical knowledge and experience to care for the patient and be flexible and anticipating while planning for future developments (Greene, 1984). The RN must have expert assessment skills so that she can assess pain, symptoms, nutritional status, bowel functions, safety, and psychosocial-spiritual concerns of the patient and the family (Knight & Gunten, 2004). As part of their role, the RN monitors the vital signs, ...Show more


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 10, 2012 Role of Registered Nurse in Hospice Registered nurses (RN) play a vital role in hospice care - a facility specifically designed to care for the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients and their families…
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