Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing
Hospice and palliative care nurses give respite to the incurably ill. They concentrate not on cure, but on symptom control and quality of life care to help those with an incurable illness facing end-of-life issues to spend their remaining days as comfortably as possible, usually in their own homes.
What Is Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing
Hospice nurses have many functions within the hospice hat. Some are case managers; others concentrate on initial intake procedures, most make home and clinic visits to hospice patients. Most are part of an interdisciplinary team. Since 2008, nearly one million people have availed themselves to Hospice services—that’s over one-third of those diagnosed to be dying of incurable illness. Hospice care is a part of palliative care nursing. Medicare regulations define hospice care to be care administered during the last six months of life. There are currently over 4,700 hospice programs in the United States administering the hospice concept of care, 80 percent of which occur within a patient’s home setting.
What Are The Educational Requirements For Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing?
Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN program)
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN program)
Registered Nurse (RN program)
What Certifications Are Needed To Be A Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse?
Hospices are Medicare-certified. There are currently five available certifications for hospice nurses, each valid for four years.
- Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse
- Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse
- Certified Hospice and Palliative Pediatric Nurse
- Certified Hospice and Palliative Licensed Nurse
- Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Administrator
The certifying body is The National Board for Certification of Hospice and Palliative Nurses. It is the only organization recognized in the United States to certify hospice nurses.
What Is The Median Hospice Nurse Wage/Salary (as of June 27, 2011)?
Charge Nurse (RN): $26.50
What Is The Job Description/Purpose For A Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse?
Hospice nurses work in a variety of settings as part of an interdisciplinary team caring for patients who are incurably ill and who are diagnosed to be in the last six months of life. Home hospice nurses generally see patients within the home setting. They are responsible for intake, case management and meeting the goals of the patient and the family. Palliative care nurses work to control the symptoms of the incurably ill patient and also operates as part of an interdisciplinary team. In most cases, a hospice and palliative care nurse is synonymous.
Hours may be unpredictable and you may be required to work on call in less than optimum care environments that may feel threatening.
What Are Some Skills and Qualifications For Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing?
- Current state licensure
- One year of acute care experience
- Understands and complies with accepted professional nursing standards and practices
- Medicare, Medicaid and insurance knowledge
- Understands and can explain advance directives
- Understands and can explain wills and their difference from advance directives
- Understanding the variable levels of reimbursements
- Ability to work as an interdisciplinary team member
- Independent worker needing little or no supervision
- Flexibility in nursing role
- Licensed driver with insured automobile. Vehicle must be in good working order as there may be extensive travel
- Teaching patient to become a functioning member of his team by assisting in own care, as possible
- Adhering to state and agency quality standards of care
- Infection control
- Charting daily care and progress notes
- Meeting with members of the team
- Maintain patient confidentiality
- Recognizes family members as part of the interdisciplinary team
- Troubleshooting equipment such as oxygen tanks and IVs
- Maintain in-home nursing supplies
- Continuing education maintenance
- Pediatric nursing care knowledge
- Geriatric nursing care knowledge
- Hospice care knowledge
- Palliative care knowledge
What Are Some Other Skills and Qualifications For A Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse?
- Clinical Skills Adapted to Home Health, Hospice and Palliative Care Use
- Exemplary Assessment Skills
- Clear, concise communication skills
- Bereavement skills
- Pharmacotherapy Knowledge
- Expert Pain Management Skills
- Expert Symptoms Control Skills
- Excellent Bedside Manner
- Excellent Infection Control Procedure
- Basic and Specialized Nursing Skills
- Holistic Health Skills and Knowledge
- In-home behavioral skills for the bed-bound patient
- Community Nursing, including Hospice and Specialized Care such as HIV/AIDS and other communicable disease care
- Medication Administration
- Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary team member
- Ability to relate one-to-one and with family members
- Listening and oral communication skills
Daily routines vary depending on the hospice and palliative care venue, individual patient and family needs, and nurse experience. Direct patient intake and assessment, nursing care, patient and family counseling, medication education and disbursement, meetings with the patient’s interdisciplinary team and medical and progress note charting will occur as needed.
What Are The Employment Outlook/Opportunities For Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing?
Nearly one-fifth of the health care field is made up of registered nurses, licensed vocational and practical nurses. Wages and salaries are expected to rise 22 percent through 2018 for the healthcare industry as a whole. Hospice and palliative care nurse employment outlook fall under those figures.
A resume is also usually required as well as one or more interviews for employment depending on the organization being applied to.
What Are Some Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing Education Programs?
Hospices and palliative care nurses should continue their opportunities to update their knowledge and skill sets by taking continuing education units (CEUs) and take part in any extra opportunities for nursing education, part or full-time traditional or online nursing programs or teaching opportunities.
- Traditional Vocational Programs
- Traditional University Programs
- Online LPN programs
- Online RN programs
- Mental Health Nursing programs
- Community Nursing programs
- Continuing Education Units
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice: The website for the trade organization representing hospices, home care aide and home care agency organizations. Fosters educational opportunities and disseminates information on legislative, regulatory, clinical and legal issues.
The Hospice Foundation of America: This website provides end-of-life care resources for nurses and other members of a patient’s interdisciplinary team.
The American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine: This link is to a peer-reviewed journal released six times a year for hospice and palliative care nurses and their interdisciplinary staff. This journal was formerly known as the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care.
Home Healthcare Nurse Journal: This is the website of the professional journal for home healthcare and hospice nurses. The journal focuses on interdisciplinary care and end-of-life issues.