Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can work in all kinds of medical settings. One career option for LPNs is working in hospice care. While end-of-life care can be an emotional and challenging time, especially for a patient’s family, LPNs may find that providing comfort to patients and their loved ones is rewarding work. Here, we provide more details about LPN job duties in a hospice setting from Prism Career Institute.
What Is Hospice Care?
Hospice care is medical care provided to a patient that has a terminal illness. Hospice care prioritizes making the patient comfortable and providing emotional support to the patient and their family members. When a patient is receiving hospice care, the focus is on improving their quality of life, rather than extending the length of their life. While many people often associate hospice care with cancer, it can be provided to patients with other serious illnesses, such as heart failure or advanced dementia. Honoring the patient’s wishes is paramount in hospice care.
What Is An LPN?
In order to become an LPN, a student must complete an accredited nursing program that is approved by their state’s board of nursing. This program will include hands-on clinical training in addition to classroom coursework. They will also need to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN). Once they are licensed, an LPN can work in a variety of clinical settings, where they will typically work under the guidance of a registered nurse (RN). Generally, LPN duties include a mix of administrative, clinical, and educational work:
- Administrative Duties: LPNs can be tasked with updating electronic medical records, billing patients and insurance companies, and completing patient intake forms.
- Clinical Duties: LPNs may provide clinical care such as monitoring patients, changing wound dressings, assisting patients with eating and hygiene, and delivering test results.
- Educational Duties: LPNs may be responsible for educating patients on topics like health conditions, potential medication side effects, treatment options, and patient rights.
It’s important to note that LPNs cannot diagnose patients, and they must be supervised by an RN.
How Does An LPN Provide Hospice Care?
LPNs can provide support and comfort to patients in hospice care. While the LPN administering hospice care will be focused on managing pain and symptoms, it is equally important that they are compassionate, thoughtful, and sensitive to the needs and wishes of the patient. LPNs may administer medications to relieve symptoms or provide respite care to offer family caregivers a break. They also need to be organized and good at documentation, as they are often working in coordination with a group of providers involved in the patient’s care plan. One unique aspect of this role is that hospice nurses provide care in the patient’s residence, whether they are living independently or in a nursing home.
Learn More About Nursing Education With Prism Career Institute
If you think you might be a good fit for LPN job duties in a hospice setting, consider the Practical Nursing Program at Prism Career Institute. This program can be completed in less than two years and is offered at our campuses in Cherry Hill and Egg Harbor, NJ, and Philadelphia, PA. Reach out to us to learn more about receiving a practical nursing education at Prism Career Institute.