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Hospice Care

← Dying PatientThe Process of Death →

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The interviews helped bring out the need for team work in a care facility. The nurse, clergy representative and doctors in the facility had to form a team with precise roles for each patient. These roles complement each other and sometimes overlap depending on a patient’s needs. Nevertheless, they must at all times be harmonious and clearly defined. The clergy should never take up nursing duties; the nurse should not assume diagnostic and treatment decisions in the absence of the doctor. The team must work alongside each other and together with the family members in facilitating a comprehensive care for the patients.

The doctor’s roles include putting a patient on pain medication, conducting regular tests and examinations, choosing a medical course of action to help the patient, discussing options with the family of the patient etc. The nurse on the other hand has to facilitate a hygienic stay of a patient, record health status changes of as patient and aggravation of certain symptoms, counseling the patient out of stressful moods, give the patient assigned medication, inform the family about the patient’s progress etc. The clergy will assume advisory, counseling, comforting and encouragement role to help the patient work on his or her spiritual well being.

Comprehensive Hospice Care. Both the clergy representative and the oncology nurse agreed to the fact that the care of a dying a person must be multifaceted. If the clergy representative is not present for instance, it is important for the nurse to assume that role momentarily and keep the patient encouraged. There is need to cater for physical, psychological and spiritual needs of the patient. Only when all the needs of a patient are catered for can hospice care be deemed adequate. This requires team work and cooperation between care givers and the family.

It is important to note that both interviewees agreed to the pertinent need for effective communication between the patient, family members and caregivers. The patient and family members must be helped to understand about the condition and developments. The care given must also be explained to the patient so that the patient knows why everything is being done. The caregivers must also be responsive to any desires of the patient and the family in a way that helps the patient more comfortable. The nurse noted that even when the patient is unable to respond or show comprehension signs, the care givers must continue speaking kindly, lovingly and in simplified sentences to the patient since most patients can listen despite being silent.

The narrative above is based on the interview results with an oncology nurse and a clergy representative, both of who works in a facility caring for dying persons. The care provided seems apt for the 21st Century needs of dying persons, if and only if, the staff employed at the facility understand the needs of a dying person and the process of dying itself. As both interviewees agreed, the 21st Century has seen an unprecedented rise in patient with terminal diseases like cancer and HIV/Aids. This means that more and more people, from all walks of life, must be fitted into a caregivers practice with emphasize on personal needs (such as spiritual nourishment in all faiths and doctrines) for each patient.

As seen from the interview, communication, care, love, understanding and spiritual well being are central to the care of dying people today. Both the medical and the spiritual staff of such a facility have very distinct and sometimes overlapping roles to play in facilitating a comfortable, less agonizing dying process for the patient.

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