Preparing For A Career In Hospice Care

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Aug 26, 2021

Aug 26, 2021 • by Rebecca Smith

There are many opportunities for a career in hospice care. Hospice care is not like other healthcare careers. It doesn't focus on patients who need curative treatment. Hospice care is a highly specialized field. There are many reasons that hospice care is so popular.

Hospice care professionals come from a wide range of educational backgrounds and experience. Hospice care includes both healthcare professionals and non-healthcare workers, including nurses, doctors, certified nursing assistants, and counselors. Social workers also play a vital role in palliative and hospice care.

A career in hospice care is a rewarding and challenging field for healthcare professionals. Hospice and palliative medicine is a field that focuses on the prevention and relief of suffering, as well as improving the quality and life of patients and their families who are living with life-limiting illnesses. They provide support for both spiritual and physical needs.

These professions are all part of the hospice interdisciplinary group that provides symptom management, education, and support for patients and their families.

They all work together to create an individual plan of care for each family member and patient. All members of an interprofessional team must communicate with patients and their families in a compassionate way. They should also be able to observe and assess patients and have high ethical standards. They must also be able to cope with severe illness or death.

Hospice Nursing Careers

Registered nurses (RNs), and licensed vocational nurses, who provide nursing care to the elderly, are called hospice nurses. They are available to patients and their families, as well as other healthcare professionals, to ensure that the quality and comfort of the patient's final days is maintained. Under the supervision of a registered nursing (RN), a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), works.

Hospice Aid (HHA),-Certified Nursing Assistant/Aide, (CNA).

AHospice Aid is a Certified Nursing Assistant/Aide (CNA), who provides healthcare to patients under the direction of a registered nurse (RN). A HHA-CNA's primary role is to support and comfort patients and their families. The Certified Nursing Assistant/Aide (HHA) Hospice Aid (CNA) may be able to have more personal interaction with patients and act as a liaison between them and the RN in order to ensure that the patient has all information.

Hospice Social Worker

Hospice social workers assist patients and their families in navigating the complex process of end-of-life planning. They also help to manage the financial, family, and mental stressors that come with a life-limiting illness. Hospice social workers advocate for patients and their families and have a deep understanding of their patient’s needs and the resources available to them.

Hospice Chaplain-Counselor

Chaplains in hospice provide spiritual support for patients and their families. Chaplains conduct spiritual assessments on patients and their families, taking into consideration mental, emotional and spiritual stressors. They then provide appropriate counseling and care. Individualized plans can include spiritual consultations or the performance of sacraments.

Hospice Nurse Practitioner

Face-to-face assessments by hospice nurse practitioners provide information that allows physicians to assess patient recertifications in order to maintain hospice eligibility. Face-to-face assessments involve meeting with patients, reviewing their charts, consulting with nurses and other team members, as well consulting with facility staff.

Physician-Hospice Medical Director

The hospice physician is responsible for overseeing the hospice care plan and is responsible to ensure that the patient's wishes and care are respected, that the hospice team is supported, and that all patient care goals are met. Hospice physicians assist the hospice team in maximizing patient comfort and providing support to improve the patient's quality of life. Hospice doctors certify and renew hospice patients.

Something They All Have in Common

Regardless of which of these careers you gravitate towards, the goal of each is the same. To comfort, and maintain a healthy, safe, and stable environment for whoever is under their care. This may mean learning how to operate specific equipment, or administering medications and monitoring the wellbeing of the patient. Being any sort of at home hospice care taker is not an easy task, and you should consider whether you wish to take on this kind of responsibility for an extended amount of time. 

The life of a hospice caretaker can be difficult, but it is often very rewarding and close bonds are many times made between the patient and caretakers. This type of career is one of the most selfless and gratifying careers available.