Hospice neither hastens nor postpones death. The aim is to focus on the comfort of the patient rather than on the disease or its treatment; therefore, hospice nurses make regularly scheduled visits to the patient providing expert pain management and symptom control techniques. Throughout this time, the nurse keeps the primary physician informed of the patient’s condition.
Nurses provide the complete spectrum of skilled nursing care and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The RN focuses much expertise on pain control and symptom management with the dying process. The nurse and hospice medical director, serve as a communication link between the resident, the family, physician, and attending physician.
The extension of the interdisciplinary team members include the C.N.A. who can spend extra time bathing, writing notes to friends and escorting the resident on walks.
Hospice may also call in specialists such as a dietician or a therapist to meet the specialized needs of a dying person.
Hospice provides all hospice diagnosis-related medication, including all pain control and symptom control measures. Additionally, hospice provides medical equipment and supplies, helpful to controlling symptoms. For example, people who are dying often do not assimilate nutrition in the same way they used to and their skin breaks down much easier. Hospice can, when deemed necessary, provide for equipment that would prevent these skin breakdowns. Without hospice services, this would have to be paid for by the family. The facility must balance the need for equipment and supplies with what the family can afford to pay. Hospice is able to help meet most of these needs.
Hospice strives to bring conclusion and acceptance to a person’s life process. The team provides support for the resident, and all of the caregivers, including the patients’ family, extended family and the staff of the nursing home.