Family members who are dealing with a loved one with a terminal illness are not alone in this experience. Nurses and physicians are affected as well and especially those who work in palliative care. Specially trained nurses in Victoria BC care home cope with many difficulties, below are some issues they deal with.
1) Remain truthful. Every individual person in their care may have ethnic or cultural dimensions nurses may be unaware of. Clients benefit the most when palliative nurses remain logical rather than being caught up with the changing emotional current.
2) Be the compassionate advocate. The workload of physicians requires nurses to advocate for their patients. Explaining the doctor’s plan of care to the patient and relaying patient concerns to the physician falls to nursing staff.
3) Be the down to earth guide. When the subject of end of life directives needs clarifying it most often falls to nurses. Often the lack the proper training to deal with this emotional issue.
4) Know the stages of grief. Being familiar with the 5 stages of grief and able to recognize that they don’t fall in any particular order allows palliative nurses to better guide their clients.
5) Be culturally sensitive. A culturally diverse population means being sensitive to different viewpoints surrounding end of life decisions.In some cultures it is considered cruel to inform patients of a harsh diagnosis. Western culture differs in that patients are informed of their current status, good or not so good.
6) It is righteous to be intuitive. Traditional nurses training is about adhering to rules, ethical principles and protocols. More experienced nurses realize using their intuition plays a role in end of life practices. Wilfully listening to the client and family and sharing those feelings and emotions with the rest of the medical team benefits everyone.
Palliative care nurses have to work with sometimes limited resources available in the medical system. Their dedication is a delicate balancing act between those constraints and focusing on the patient’s wishes and well being.
Thanks to Clover Point Care for these helpful tips.