LIFE Before Death #29: End of Life Nursing

2011 December 5
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Award Winning LIFE Before Death

Short Film 29 of 50 in the LIFE Before Death documentary series about the global crisis in untreated pain and the dramatic life changing affect palliative care services can deliver to patients and their families around the world.

In “End of LIfe Nursing”¬†we discover the crucial role nurses play in improving the lives of families and patients faced life-limiting illness.

“Nurses are a crucial member of the team in providing good pain control and excellent palliative care,” reflects Dr Judith Paice (USA).

“Of course we don’t look only at pain,” continues Diane Lebeau RN (Canada). “We look at everything else that is around pain being the psychological aspect, the spiritual aspect, the emotions around what it is with the pain.”

“Nurses are at the bedside and so they can perform those crucial assessments that help us to know whether the patients condition is changing,” reports Dr Paice. “They can help us understand the physiologic affects as well as the psychosocial issues that the patient may be experiencing.”

“Of course the pain is the first thing that we’ll address because the patient will not be able to work on an emotional aspect if the pain is not well controlled,” agrees Lebeau.

“The nurse is often the individual that often gets to know the family and the loved ones and so they can help us understand the extent of the loved ones suffering and what needs they may have,” observes Dr Paice.

“Just looking after the patient may not be enough,” reflects Ramdas G. RN (India). “We may also have to involve the family members too in this palliative care.”

“So in addition to the assessment nurses also deliver many of the therapies,” continues Dr Paice. “The physician may prescribe an opioid, for example, to treat pain or dyspnea. But the nurse is the one actually making that decision about when to give that medicine.”

“The nurse is always carrying the plan. For sure, the physician and the team look at the plan together, but the nurse carries it. She brings it at the bedside,” explains Lebeau. “So of course the nurse is the one who will be at the center of what’s happening with a patient.”

Featuring: Professor Joan Marston (South Africa), Dr Judith Paice (USA), Diane Lebeau RN (Canada), Ramdas G. RN (India), Sandra (Australia).

If you’ve missed previous episodes, catch up on the LIFE Before Death website…

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