Palliative Nursing is not for the Weak at Heart

December 3, 2012 3:52 pm

Palliative Nursing is not for the Weak at Heart

Palliative care is used for those who have serious injuries, illnesses, and disease. It is not typical medical care. It is an added layer of comfort that is used in conjunction with the regular medical treatment and curative care but is typically not used alone, except in rare cases that will be discussed below.

Improving Quality of Life

Palliative care is used for those who have serious injuries and illnesses. These illnesses can range from cancer, to congestive heart failure, a form of muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer’s disease, COPD and many more.

Palliative care works with additional symptoms of pain, shortness of breath, depression, appetite, nausea, and many other symptoms that comes along with the disease, and with the treatments that are offered for the disease.

They also help you understand how different treatment options will affect you. They help you get on with your life, rather than focus on your medical treatment constantly.

Groups of Professionals

Palliative care comes with a group of professionals. These professionals are doctors, nurses, dietitians, and more that will help make patients life easier, and show treatments and dietary changes that can be made alongside their typical treatments.

How a Nurse in Palliative Care Helps

A nurse in palliative care helps by assessing the patient on a regular basis. They find out the needs of the patient and help with the care. They work alongside the palliative care doctor, and the family doctor to ensure that the patient receives the best care possible and closer monitoring than can be given in a typical care setting.

Unfortunately, in palliative care, you will lose patients. In some cases, palliative care is the last resort for a patient who is dying of an illness or disease. They turn to this care for comfort measures and support at the end of their life.

Palliative Care Is Not For the Weak of Heart

Palliative care is not for a nurse that does not do well with loss. Since many of the patients are under palliative care for comfort reasons, and for life ending diseases and conditions, the patient death rate is very high. This could mean that you are dealing with death on a daily basis.

Typically, nurses that work in this specialty have experience in trauma, or emergency nursing. These nurses are used to losing patients regularly, and are able to go through with their regular day after losing a patient. This does not mean they do not care, it just means that they are able to hold back emotions, at least until the end of the day.

This situation can be extremely difficult for a new nurse. Especially since they must have contact with many patients each day, and this does not stop because you have lost a patient.

Not only do you see death as a palliative care nurse, but you also see people in serious situations that you cannot help them with. It is hard to deal with dying patients, while still maintaining a positive demeanor.

Teaching Patients and Their Families

A large part of the job of being a palliative care nurse, is teaching patients and their families. They want to know what to expect from the disease or disorder they are facing. Families want to know how to best care for their loved ones, and how to maintain a healthy balance in their lives.

Patients want someone to review treatment options with, and need help understanding what to expect from their treatment at different stages of their care. They also want spiritual guidance, and a reassurance that modern medicine is doing the best it can to help them live as long as possible, and do so as comfortable as possible.