The Role of the Hospice Nurse

The Hospice Nurse

Also known as the RN Case Manager or RNCM

The Hospice Nurse, or Hospice Nurse Case Manager, will be the representative from hospice that leads and manages your medical/hospice/health cares.

Your Hospice Nurse will be a Registered Nurse, not an LPN. He/She will manage your medications, provide education on end of life cares, and will teach you and your family/caregivers about what to expect as you journey through your end of life.

Your hospice nurse will be the main contact between you and your primary (or attending) physician and will receive orders from your primary physician for any comfort related needs, including medications, supplies, and DME.

How many times the hospice nurse visits you a week depends on your needs. Some patients have the Hospice Nurse visit patients one time a week, while others get 5-7 times a week visits from their nurse. The number of visits depends on your needs.

Each visit will be one-hour in length, usually. Medications will be reviewed, safety will be reviewed, skin checked, appetite assessed, review of bowel movements (yes, that’s important), and a more thorough assessment will be performed focusing in on your terminal diagnosis (the reason you are on hospice services).

Your hospice nurse will visit you as often as is needed. As your loved one starts to decline, your nurse will increase their frequencies during the week (more visits during the week).

The hospice nurse will also manage any symptoms you may experience during your journey. Medicare requires that all hospice patients have a Hospice RN. The Hospice RNCM primarily works during the day, and any symptoms or urgent needs that come up after hours will be taken care of by the on-call Hospice Nurse.

There are other nurses on the hospice team that you may meet also:

LPNs that will perform wound care or continuous care visits

Visit Nurses (also RNs) will perform routine, scheduled hospice visits.

On-call Hospice Nurses perform visits after regular business hours to help manage any symptoms that may arise.

TOGETHER, all the hospice nurses work hard to provide end-of-life cares for hospice patients. Great Teamwork includes effective communication and caring nurses.

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