Category: Tips For Nurses

Articles for nurses caring for terminally ill patients including how to manage challenging situations.

Encouraging Dementia Patients to Take a Bath or Shower: 3 Gentle Methods

As a caregiver for a loved one with dementia, it's important to approach daily tasks, such as bathing, with patience, understanding, and empathy. Dementia can bring about changes in behavior and communication, making activities like showering or bathing challenging for both the patient and the caregiver. Here are three gentle methods to encourage a dementia patient to cooperate and take a bath or shower while maintaining their comfort and dignity.
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Review of Gone from My Sight by Barbara Karnes, RN

Gone From My Sight The Dying Experience By Barbara Karnes
As an experienced hospice nurse with years of experience, I have come across numerous resources that aim to guide families and caregivers through the process of dying. One such resource that stands out is "Gone from my sight: The Dying Experience" by Barbara Karnes, RN. This booklet, often referred to as the "Little Blue Book," has been a staple for hospice providers for over three decades, and for good reason.
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Nourishing with Care: Feeding a Terminally Ill Loved One

Caring for someone at the end of life is one of the highest forms of love. It requires patience, understanding, and a gentle touch. It’s about being there, whether it’s holding a hand, wiping a brow, or offering a favorite dish. It’s about listening to their needs, both said and unsaid, and responding with your heart. In these moments, we’re not just caregivers; we’re guardians of their dignity and their peace. In this article, we’ll explore these topics further, providing you with the knowledge and tools to feed your loved one safely and with compassion. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey. There’s a community of caregivers out there who understand and support you. Together, we can ensure that our loved ones are nourished with care and love in their final days.
Read MoreNourishing with Care: Feeding a Terminally Ill Loved One

Managing Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State at End of Life: A Comfort-Based Approach

Dka Vs Hhs For Diabetes
As an experienced hospice nurse, I understand that managing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS) at end of life can be challenging, especially when patients choose to stop taking their diabetic medications or when those medications are no longer an option. In this article, I will provide information on recognizing the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemic crises and outline comfort-based treatment options that align with hospice goals of care.
Read MoreManaging Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State at End of Life: A Comfort-Based Approach

Caring for a Loved One with Dementia: Encouraging Medication Compliance

encouraging a woman to take her medicine
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be challenging. One common struggle caregivers face is ensuring their loved one takes their medications. Dementia can make understanding and remembering medications difficult. In this guide, we'll explore effective strategies for encouraging dementia patients to take their medications, considering their unique needs.
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Understanding and Managing Contractures

dementia patient with contractures
I know that the journey you and your loved one are on can be challenging, especially when facing a terminal illness. As an experienced hospice nurse caring for terminally ill patients, I want to provide you with some valuable insights on a common issue that may arise during this time: contractures.
Read MoreUnderstanding and Managing Contractures

How to Use the Beers Criteria for Medication Reconciliation and Deprescribing in Hospice Care: 10 Case Studies

thoughtful prescribing and deprescribing
In this article, we will discuss how to use the Beers Criteria to identify PIMs and potential prescribing omissions (PPOs) in hospice patients. PPOs are medications that are indicated but not prescribed for a specific patient or population, or that are prescribed at a suboptimal dose or duration. We will also present 10 case studies to illustrate the medication reconciliation and deprescribing process and the outcomes of medication changes in different scenarios.
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How to Care for People with Dementia: The Importance of Patience, Compassion and Empathy

dementia person in wheelchair with hands being held
Patience, compassion, and empathy are qualities that can help caregivers to understand, respect, and support a person with dementia, as well as to cope with the stress and difficulties of caregiving. Patience is the ability to tolerate delays, difficulties, or discomfort without getting angry or upset. Compassion is the feeling of sympathy and concern for the suffering or well-being of another. Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feelings and perspectives of another. In this article, we will discuss why patience, compassion, and empathy are essential for dementia care, and how to practice and cultivate them in daily interactions. We will also provide some tips and strategies on how to apply patience, compassion, and empathy in different scenarios that may arise when caring for someone with dementia. By the end of this article, we hope to inspire and empower you to care for your loved one with dementia with patience, compassion, and empathy.
Read MoreHow to Care for People with Dementia: The Importance of Patience, Compassion and Empathy

Managing Shortness of Breath in Hospice Care: Non-Pharmacological Methods for Comfort

Using A Small Fan To Help Reduce Shortness Of Breath
Shortness of breath, or dyspnea, is a common symptom that affects many patients in hospice care. It can make breathing difficult and uncomfortable, and cause anxiety and distress. As a hospice nurse, I know how hard it can be to see your loved one's struggle with breathlessness. That’s why I want to share with you some non-pharmacological methods that can help ease their breathing and improve their comfort. Non-pharmacological methods are techniques that do not involve taking any medicine. They are safe, easy, and effective ways to manage shortness of breath. They can also help patients feel more relaxed and calmer and improve their quality of life. In this article, I will explain five non-pharmacological methods that have worked well for many hospice patients.
Read MoreManaging Shortness of Breath in Hospice Care: Non-Pharmacological Methods for Comfort

How to Support a Dementia Patient Who Tries to Escape from a Memory Care Facility

patients escaping
Elopement is when a person with dementia leaves a safe area, like their home or care facility, without supervision. This can be intentional or unintentional, and it's important to address to ensure the safety of the patient. If your loved one is attempting to escape from a memory care facility, there are steps you can take to support both them and the facility.
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Coping with a Loved One’s Placement in a Nursing Home: Supporting Patients with Dementia

women using a rollator walking down a hallway
Dementia can be extremely hard for families to deal with. You may have been taking care of your loved one at home for a long time. But as the disease gets worse, you may not be able to give them the care they need. You may have to think about placing them in a nursing home. A nursing home is a place where people can get 24-hour care from trained staff. We know that this is an exceedingly difficult and painful decision. You may feel sad, angry, guilty, or scared. You may worry about how your loved one will cope with the change. You may wonder if you are doing the right thing. These are normal and understandable feelings. You are not alone. Many people go through the same situation.
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How to Use Pursed Lip Breathing to Manage Shortness of Breath

Pursed Lip Breathing
Dealing with shortness of breath can be challenging for terminally ill patients, but there are techniques that can help manage this symptom and improve their overall comfort. One such technique is pursed lip breathing. Pursed lip breathing is a simple and effective breathing technique that can help reduce shortness of breath and improve oxygen exchange in the lungs. As an experienced hospice nurse with years of experience, I will guide you through the steps of pursed lip breathing in a compassionate and easy-to-understand manner.
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Understanding Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH): A Guide for Families

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is a condition that occurs when cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) builds up inside the skull and presses on the brain. This can lead to various impairments in brain functions, such as thinking, memory, movement, and bladder control. NPH can also affect the quality of life, mood, and behavior of the person with NPH and their caregivers. The cause of NPH is often unknown, but it may be due to injury, bleeding, infection, brain tumor, or surgery on the brain. This article aims to provide a guide for families to understand NPH, its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and management, as well as how to cope with the challenges and uncertainties of living with NPH.
Read MoreUnderstanding Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH): A Guide for Families

Understanding Hospice Eligibility for Terminally Ill Patients with Non-Alzheimer’s Dementia

As experienced caregivers, we know how crucial it is to accurately assess and determine hospice eligibility for our terminally ill patients. Today, let's focus on patients with non-Alzheimer's dementia. While the FAST scale is not applicable in these cases, there are other signs and symptoms we should be observant of to support and prove hospice eligibility. Let's dive in!
Read MoreUnderstanding Hospice Eligibility for Terminally Ill Patients with Non-Alzheimer’s Dementia

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