Hospice CNA works with terminally ill patients who suffer from emotional trauma and are on the final stage of their life. Hospice care is provided at the home of the patient with the support of their family members, but sometimes it can be offered at a hospice facility. A hospice certified nursing assistant serve the patients under the supervision of the physician and registered nurse. In order to work as a hospice nurse aide, you must have some personal traits like compassion, good interpersonal and communication skills, high ethical standards, keen observation skills, sympathetic and resilient, physical and emotional stability, etc.
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Hospice CNA provides palliative care to the extremely ill patients and offer emotional support to their family members. They manage general pain, treat symptoms, provide up-to-date medical report to the supervisors, measure the vital statistics like blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature, administer medications, assist patients in performing the routine activities, respond to the emergency situations, etc.
The duties and responsibilities of hospice nurse aides have been categorized in the following points:
1. Address the Physical Needs of the Patient
You need to fulfill the physical needs of the patients by changing the linens and diapers, shifting the patients from bed to chair, transporting them to and from the specialized areas, assisting them in motion exercises, etc.
If you are working as a hospice aide in the patient’s home, you have to do some housekeeping like making beds, cooking, doing the dishes, removing garbage, cleaning room, and putting away dirty laundry.
3. Support the Patient’s Family Members
You are expected to be a good listener and provide emotional support to the family members of the patient. Sometimes the friends of the patients ask medical questions about the health of the client. You cannot answer them properly, so it’s better to hear them and assure them that you are providing your best and following the care plan decided by the doctors and nurses. You can also give the phone numbers of the nurse and doctors to the grieving family members so that they get the answers of their questions.
A certified nursing assistant is an integral part of team in many hospice agencies and expected to attend all the meetings that involve discussion on the patient’s health and care plan. You must keep an up-to-date medical report (including patient’s state of mind, food and liquid intake and output, vital signs, blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature) of your clients. You can make your own recommendations during the meeting.
5. Personal Care
A hospice nurse aide takes care of proper grooming and hygiene of the patients. They help the patients in brushing, bathing, dressing, and feeding. They also provide nail and dental care to the clients.
6. Ensure Proper Nutrition
A nurse aide also supervises the nutritional and supplement needs of the hospice patients. Some medical treatments and medications may cause loss of appetite in patients, and they may find it difficult to eat. A CNA decide the appropriate liquid and food for the patient and encourage the nutritional intake by serving small meals frequently.
7. Administration of Medication
A nursing assistant is responsible for supervising the patients at the time of medication. They start IV fluids whenever needed by the patient, but they are not allowed to administer injections. Some other responsibilities include checking port lines, maintaining breathing tubes, providing enemas and catheter care.
8. Other Duties
Home health aides earned the mean annual wages of $22,050 and average hourly wages of $10.60 in May 2013 (as per the reports of the BLS). Besides getting lucrative salary, they can also avail medical insurance, paid leaves, retirement benefits and sick leaves.
A hospice certified nursing assistant can work in several types of healthcare settings including residential care facilities, nursing centers, private homes, and patient’s home.