Definitions of palliative care, hospice care, DNR orders, and end-of-life care
Hospice care is a model of care that focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting patients with a life expectancy of six months or less (Altshuler, 2013). For most nurses, caring for a dying elder (individual aged 65 years and above) is a discrete, time-limited experience that begins with first contact, often in a hospital, emergency room, or long term care facility, and ends with the death itself (Phillips & Reed, 2008).
Palliative care, somewhat similar to Hospice care, focuses on relieving or preventing suffering from a life altering illness. The goal for both Palliative and Hospice care is to provide the best possible quality of life to patients and their families. Palliative care can also be described as a philosophy of care, or a system of delivering care (Altshuler, 2013).
DNR orders are “do not resuscitate” orders that are written by doctors at the request of their patients, or patient’s legal guardian. It gives direction to health care providers to not perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) the patient stops breathing or if the heart stops beating (Altshuler, 2013). The DNR order is a part of end of life care which takes a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers including, but not limited to: doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists. Although there are a variety of DNR order types, they do not affect certain treatments such as: pain medicine, medicines, or nutrition.
Primary nursing roles in hospice or palliative care
Primary nursing roles in hospice or palliative care are the most crucial role for end of life care giving. The nurse must be able to assess the patient for a variety of physical changes th...
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...l costs in the long run. Attention to patients’ religion/spirituality as part of medical care appears to assist terminally ill patients in avoiding burdensome, aggressive medical care at the end of life (Tracy Balboni, 2011).
Altshuler, M. (2013, November 01). BSN, RN. (K. J. Gualdoni, Interviewer)
Anonymous. (2007). Nurses' Responsibility to Patients Requesting Assistance in Hastening Death. Oncology Nursing Forum, 34, 763-764.
Pavlish, C. (2009). Oncology nurse's perceptions of nursing roles and professional attributes in pallaitive care. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 13, 404-413.
Phillips, L. R., & Reed, P. G. (2008). Into the abyss of someone else’s dying: The voice of the end of life caregiver. Clinical Nursing Research, 19, 80-97.
Tracy Balboni, M. B. (2011). Support of Cancer Patients’ Spiritual Needs. Cancer, 5383-5891.
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