End-of-life care becomes an issue at some point for elderly clients. Even with the emergence of palliative care programs and hospice programs, the majority of elderly people do not die in their own home as is their preference. What are the reasons for this trend? Discuss what you can do as a nurse to support your clients in end-of-life care and in supporting their desires. Support your response with evidence-based literature.
Planning care for elderly adults can be stressful and time consuming. Often families run out of patience being a primary caretaker for their loved ones and sometimes chose to call in home health or place their family member in a nursing home. However; this may be against their loved ones wishes to remain in their home and also die there. As mentioned in The Guardian, “71% of respondents wanted to die at home but only 21% actually managed to do so” (The guardian, 2012 ). One reason for this may be that the family may not even know that their loved one wishes to die in the comfort of their own home simply because they have never talked about this issue or have avoided the topic of death. (The guardian, 2012). Another reason could be that the death was sudden and dying at home just was not possible. “Lack of planning, however, can mean that an older person’s ultimate wish to die at home remains unfulfilled” (The guardian, 2012). It is important for nurses to include the patient and also the patients’ family when assisting with planning end of life care.
This will help keep the family and the patient on the same page with wises and requests. Also it might help the patient feel more comfortable to open up to their family about any concerns or requests they might have with this issues. Nurses should be sure to not just focus on what is happening in that moment but must help plan with the family for the upcoming hardships. “Nurses who focus solely on the care and comfort of the patient can miss the opportunity to expand their circle of caring to the family unit” (Journal of hospice and palliative care, 2012). A nurse can be supportive of their patients wishes by having a nonjudgmental attitude, gathering resources for the patient to accommodate their wishes, discussing these topics with the patients family if the patient is having a hard time doing this and getting social services involved with the case if need be.