End-of-life care is a crucial aspect of nursing that aims to improve the quality of life for patients in their final days, weeks, or months of life. This period often presents difficult treatment decisions that can have a significant impact on patients’ well-being. According to the American College of Nursing, nurses play a critical role in guiding patients and their families through these challenging decisions and providing support during this emotionally trying time (American College of Nursing, n.d.).
Patients and their families often rely on nurses for emotional support, as they may feel overwhelmed and confused. While doctors provide information about medications, treatments, and schedules, nurses offer a unique source of comfort and guidance. Nurses must adapt to the realities faced by patients and their families and ensure that the patients’ wishes are met, even if they differ from the desires of their family members (American College of Nursing, n.d.). This poses a challenging task, as nurses must balance patient preferences, respect autonomy, and support families in managing processes they may have never encountered before (American College of Nursing, n.d.).
Palliative care nurses play a vital role in caring for end-of-life patients. They provide round-the-clock care in the patient’s home or a hospice, aiming to alleviate pain and other symptoms while supporting the dying process with dignity (Houston Chronicle, n.d.). Each patient and family have unique perspectives on end-of-life needs, requiring palliative care nurses to assess and adjust their care accordingly (Houston Chronicle, n.d.).
End-of-life care can be received in various settings, such as at home, in a care home, hospice, or hospital. The choice of location depends on the individual’s needs and preferences. Regardless of the setting, individuals approaching the end of life are entitled to high-quality care that enables them to live as well as possible until their death and die with dignity (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2019).
Unfortunately, many elderly patients do not die at home, contrary to their wishes. One reason for this is that families may not feel capable of effectively caring for the needs of the dying person. End-of-life care often involves managing multiple physical issues that require nursing care, making it challenging for families without sufficient medical knowledge or resources to provide the necessary support (Ward, 2018).
Additionally, most health insurances do not fully cover in-home care during the final days, making it financially burdensome for families to provide the desired care at home (Ward, 2018). These factors contribute to the decision for patients to receive end-of-life care in settings other than their own homes.
In conclusion, end-of-life care is a critical aspect of nursing that aims to improve the quality of life for patients in their final days, weeks, or months. Nurses play a crucial role in guiding patients and their families through difficult treatment decisions and providing emotional support during this challenging time. Palliative care nurses focus on meeting patient preferences, respecting autonomy, and adjusting care according to individual needs and perspectives. While the desire to die at home is common among elderly patients, various factors may hinder this wish, including families’ capacity to provide adequate care and financial limitations. It is essential for healthcare professionals and policymakers to address these barriers to ensure that individuals approaching the end of life receive appropriate and desired care.
End of 800 words.