Explain how you would approach a family who wants “everything” done for a patient with only a limited time to live.
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Question: An explanation of the role of the advanced practice nurse in facilitating the discussion of end-of-life care with patients and their families. Explain how you would approach a family who wants “everything” done for a patient with only a limited time to live. Then, explain when it is appropriate to involve hospice and how to approach patients and/or families who refuse hospice services. Finally, explain potential outcomes of the patient in the case study you selected and how you would facilitate the discussion of end-of-life care with this patient’s family. We are in a unique position to guide patients and their families through an increasingly complex health care system toward the goal of a “good death” one that is comfortable and self-determined.

Answers:

An explanation of the role of the advanced practice nurse in facilitating the discussion of end-of-life care with patients and their families

With the aging of the US population, the number of seriously ill patients with complex conditions is expected to rise and the overwhelming majority of deaths occur among the older adult population. Older adults typically die slowly of chronic diseases, with multiple coexisting problems, progressive dependency on others and heavy care needs that are met mostly by family members. The dilemma of end-of-life care becomes a crucial issue for the advance practical nurses. As a nurse practitioner, we have a crucial role in facilitating end-of-life care discussion with patients and families. It is not that easy to explain to them about hospice or comfort measures. A lot of patients and families have misconception about end-of-life care. They are thinking about the literal word of killing or giving up someone’s life. We are here to assist elderly patients with their advanced chronic illness and their families as they experience the final phase of life. We are here to serve the patients and family members caring for patients to promote excellent communication with family, encourage appropriate advance care planning and decision making, support home care, demonstrate empathy for family emotions and relationships, and attend to family grief and bereavement (Rabow, 2004). We should have the ability to listen which is the most valuable skill that can be used and allow them the opportunity to tell “their story.” End-of-life issues are very sensitive. That is when we are all most vulnerable, cared and thinking of what we did or did not do in our lifetime. NPs who can be empathetic and “be” with the patient at this very important time will have one of the most rewarding experiences of their career (Knox, 2010).


 

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