LVN in hospice--expectations?

  1. Hi everyone, I interviewed yesterday and was hired, for a hospice agency in town. They actually do supplemental staffing to the main hospice agencies in town (Vitas, Vista Care, etc). I am really unsure of what to expect. I will be working part-time on an availability basis because I currently have a full time job. I asked questions about the safety of working in the home, etc but I am still wondering about things. Especially after reading some of the postings.
    For instance, my orientation was a walk-through of the handbook with the director highlighting important points and pages to read. Nothing else. I was asked for my availability and told them Saturday the 26th would my next available date.
    The director told me I would be in contact with the primary hospice agency as well as my agency should any needs arise. Have any of you had experience with this type of situation? The goal of the company is to be sure care is always provided and a family is not left alone simply because there is not enough staff. That's where nurses like me come in. This will be my first foray into the whole hospice realm with the exception of hospice patients I cared for while working LTC. In the facility, I was the primary hospice nurse (as well as charge nurse) for the residents whose families did not have hospice nurses. CNA's would come in to bathe etc every morning but the nursing duty was primarily whoever was charge that day.
    Whew...long story. For those of you who have experience with hospice (I believe this is a for-profit agency) what advice or thoughts can you offer me? Is this a good decision to make? Any ideas/advice/thoughts etc that you have would be accepted graciously and very much appreciated.
    Thanks!
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  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   Wren
    Txlvn....congrats on your new job and I hope that you really like it! I fear though that you may not have much more orientation than you already have received. The good news is that you have already been doing hospice work, just in an LTC facility. There are differences but you have skills that you can fall back on and the patients and the families are going through the same things, just at home.

    I'd recommend buying a good book on symptom management and if possible, try to attend the weekly meetings at your hospice. You'll learn a lot and gain valuable support in the meetings. Learn who your patient care coordinator is whenever you are assigned and don't hesitate to call him or her if you have questions. I've had the coordinator join me at a patient's house a couple of times when I needed help. They are also good people to call and bounce ideas off of.... "I've got this situation, I am thinking of doing this, what do you think"..... stuff like that. Having a dependable person back at the office to call can make all the difference in feeling like you are part of a team (and you will be) rather than all alone in the home, as it can sometimes feel like.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.

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