HAT Task 2

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In every profession a person’s own perceptions and life experiences shape how they perform and function at that job. Nurses find this to be true more so than other professions, especially when it comes to treating someone with a terminal illness. Cancer has affected many people in my life, I lost my grandmother and a close friend. But I have also dealt with end stage cancer first hand as a hospice nurse. In the case of my family, I watched my grandmother battle aggressive brain tumors called glioblastomas. As the cancer spread the chemotherapy and radiation had to intensify, which in turn caused her to become weaker. She needed more help with basic activities of daily living, including preparing meals. She also would occasionally have seizures due to the increased pressure from the tumors in her brain. This meant she required someone to stay with her at all times. She had to move in with my Mom who mostly works from her home, only traveling out of the house 1-2 days a week. On the days my Mom was out of the house my grandmother would go to a local adult day care, where she would socialize with other seniors. As the disease progressed she required more assistance with activities of daily living and was no longer able to go to the adult day care. This additional need for care became difficult for my Mom who needed to continue to work and she had to place her in a skilled nursing facility to assure she received the care she needed. She was enrolled in hospice care which added another level of support in the last 3 months of her life. As our family watched her decline we relied on each other, and the hospice team for support. The decisions my Mom had to make were difficult and she needed the support of her family and her friends. The difficulties that my Grandmother faced were difficult to watch, but she was not alone in the process thanks to her hospice nurse. The closeness that her nurse had with her and the expertise she brought with her regarding symptom management and end of life care not only helped my Grandmother feel more comfortable but also our family. She also needed our support and love to

help her cope with the depression associated with a terminal illness. Her experience led to my transition from hospital nursing to hospice nursing. I was able to use my personal experience in facing difficult end of life decisions, and help others with the challenges they would encounter at during the transition to hospice care. Not only did I become a hospice nurse I continued my education and sought out certification as a certified hospice and palliative care nurse. With this certification comes with it a knowledge and understanding of end stage disease processes and how to help manage symptoms. My personal experience with hospice and my family helped mold me into a caring and knowledgable hospice nurse. My current role is as a charge nurse in the hospital where I act as a resource and patient advocate. This is also the case when patient's are given a less than favorable diagnosis. I value the difficult decisions patient's and families have to make when deciding to initiate hospice care. One of the crucial components in hospice and palliative care is that the plan of care in patient driven. This means that as a nurse advocating for patients wishes is of the utmost importance. With personal and professional experiences, my view of a patient's quality of life not only encompasses their physical well-being, but also psychological and spiritual. Even though the end stage disease processes can be very similar, each patient is unique and should be treated as such. This means that not one terminally ill patient would have the same care plan as anyone else. My view on caring for a patient in their final stages of life, focus on improving their quality of life for whatever time they may have left.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Thomas need help to improve their quality of life, as a community nurse there are strategies to help assist them with...
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