Anne Mette is an experienced private nurse and has several times handled terminal courses. There are many benefits to terminal care in your own home. Here she talks about terminal care and how, as a private nurse, she can make a difference by providing good nursing care to the dying and support to relatives.
Terminal care at home is organized with patient and relatives
Through good communication, Anne Mette ensures that patients and relatives can feel comfortable with her presence throughout the terminal care course. It is about listening and being present in the meeting with those involved and showing compassion in a professional way that inspires confidence and trust.
“Sometimes we have been in contact with the patient for a long time, while with others we only step in at the final stage. The common denominator is that I have to track the needs of the patient and the family. I have to find out who makes the decisions and what their wishes are. Many times it can be difficult for relatives to make decisions. They have to decide on many things. It can be anything from the patient’s last wish, contacting home care, and funeral arrangements to coordinating with their own doctor. When I know the family, I can step in and guide them through the process so they can make the decisions without it being too overwhelming.”
Home hospice with a private nurse
We find that more and more terminally ill patients have the wish to pass away in their own homes. The patient’s home must function as a hospice, where the patient remains in his or her own environment until the end.
“When the end of life is approaching for my patients, palliation – the relief of anxiety, nausea, and pain – is particularly important. It’s important that the patient is not in pain, but is comfortable. And people are usually most comfortable and secure in their own environment. Hospice in the patient’s own home is therefore an ideal solution. We are a small team of private nurses who know the patient and relatives well. We stay professionally in the background, but are always available.”
How a private nurse can make a difference through terminal care at home
“For the dying person, I can make a difference on both a physical and psychological level. Physically, I can reduce the patient’s pain. I can also relieve stomach problems and provide wound care for the wounds that can come from being bedridden. Psychologically, I can help ease anxiety and create reassurance about the situation through conversation. Some people need to have things said and maybe write things down. Everything I do is to ensure that the patient has as dignified a death as they can, and that fulfills the wishes they have.”
Support for relatives of terminal patients
There are many things that relatives of terminal patients have to deal with, think about, and be involved in. This can make the situation very overwhelming as the relatives are also in the process of grieving.
“My job is very much about anticipating the needs of relatives and thereby being at the forefront of what they will need. That way, I can relieve some of the stress they’re carrying. Often I also find that they have a lot of questions. These can be about anything from medication and pain relief to funeral preparations. Whatever it is, relatives can come to me.”
Collaboration with doctor, public home care, nursing home and others involved
In addition to working with relatives and the terminal patient, Anne Mette also coordinates with other parties: “Often there is a doctor, public home care, or others involved. With my nursing background, I can coordinate the different instances to best suit the patient’s terminal course. This also greatly relieves the family, who have these tasks taken off their shoulders.”