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Dying Patient

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The purpose of this paper was to report on an interview conducted with an oncology nurse and a clergy representative. Both of the nurse and the clergy representative were interviewed since they work in a facility providing care for dying patients. The objective of the exercise was to establish the particular approach adopted by the facility in working with dying patients and how that approach is relevant to the 21st Century needs of dying patients. The question reported on in the essay and the attached as an appendix reveal a genuine interest in understanding how these two specialists provide their continued services in hospice care.

According to the oncology nurse interviewed, most of the patients admitted in the facility have already undergone confirmed laboratory tests whose results show that the person is suffering from a progressive medical condition that will soon or later result in death. According to the nurse, the facility scrutinizes each patient to ensure that they can fully provide the specific needs of the patient. There are some conditions like dementia, which demands very specialized care. The facility must therefore ascertain their ability to provide adequate care for the patient’s condition. Most of the patients admitted are those whose care givers at home have been overwhelmed or unqualified to give, especially in the very last stages of the dying process.   

The primary needs of a dying patient are physical, spiritual and emotional.  At the time when the patient's health can no longer be controlled, treatment for the condition usually stops and that is when hospice care becomes most necessary.  The hospice care focuses mainly on making a patient comfortable in the last days alive by giving medications and treatments that control severe symptoms like pain, constipation, short breath, nausea etc.

The idea is to remove the overbearing strain of an impending death and the stress that accompanies such disclosure with psychological assistance, physical treatments and spiritual nourishment. The nurse and the clergy representative concurred in the fact that a dying patient needs comfort, information of his or her health status, encouragement to bear the sad outcome with acceptance and a positive mind and the guidance in making vital decisions before he or she dies. According to the clergy representative, the spiritual care of the patient are the most important and usually the key to eliminate stress and desperation of the patient.

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