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What Does a Palliative Care Nurse Do?

A Palliative Care Nurse specializes in the care of patients with serious, often terminal, illnesses where the goal is to optimize quality of life rather than to cure the underlying disease. They focus on providing relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness, whatever the diagnosis. Their responsibilities include managing pain and other distressing symptoms, providing psychological and spiritual care, and offering supportive services to patients and their families.

These nurses work closely with a multidisciplinary team to devise and implement a comprehensive care plan that aligns with the patient’s and family’s goals and values. They often assist with advanced care planning and facilitate discussions about patient wishes and treatment preferences.

Palliative Care Nurses must have a deep understanding of the disease processes and be skilled in the principles of symptom management. They need excellent communication and interpersonal skills to support patients and families through complex emotional and ethical decisions.

They are employed in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, and hospices. Their role is crucial in ensuring that patients facing life-limiting illnesses receive compassionate, patient-centered care that enhances their quality of life.

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