Quote from DebbieP
My name is Debbie.I have been out of nursing for 9 years now and wish to get back into it.I am looking into the nursing refresher program at this time and hope to start soon.In the past I had difficulty finding my niche in nursing so I gave it up without exploring the practice more.I am looking into going into pallaitive care.I'm just wondering if anyone can offer some info on what treatments/procedures pallaitive nurses usually encounter as well as any other helpful advice you all may have.
Thanks a bunch
hi deb (and for angie, too)
palliative care is not the same as hospice; under the palliative care benefit, you are not restricted to the 6 mos or less prognosis in order to qualify. you can still be fully treating the pt but the dx does have to be end stage...but w/end stage you still may live longer than 6 mos. palliative care pts are those with end stage chf, copd, parkinson's..... deb and angie, i think you might be talking about hospice, where the pts' time is indeed more ltd.
with hospice, treatments are usually limited to pain mgmt and often there are complex wounds; managing pt's symptoms as well as a lot of family dynamics. treatments are for comfort and you won't see any chemo pts or vent...but vents have been approved by hospice before; i just don't know in what capacity since to me, they're life sustaining. you can defintely have pts receiving rad tx's if the tumor is causing undue pressure and pain. you can even have dialysis patients as long as their primary dx is something terminal and not related to the renal failure. you will be challenged. you need acute assessment and education skills. again, the family is a big, big part of hospice and you will see many various dynamics, whether it be denial, grief, anger, interference with the plan of care.
and angie, if you have a bad back, this might not be the job for you as i've had dozens of pts who were quite large but still need repositioning or help with transfers. of course you can always get a couple of cna's to help you.
if you're out in the community, it's you and maybe a hha if they're present at the time. you'll still be doing the same tasks but also will want to give skin checks to ensure no further decubiti or fungating wounds have developed. you have more autonomy but less control- you don't know what's happening when you're not there....is your pt getting repositioned? is your pt getting the pain meds that are needed? your patient is your first priority and you will get family members that don't want their loved one medicated for fear of addiction and other reasons. that's why i loved in-pt; me personally? i don't think i could handle hospicing out in the community, but again, that's me.
go to a vna that has hospice services and ask if you can shadow a hospice nurse. you'll get a good sense of what it would be like.
good luck to you deb....do take that nurse refresher course; do your own research and shadow a nurse before committing to any position.