UHV Fall Nursing Forum to discuss hospice care
Dec. 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
The technical and emotional sides of hospice health care are not always taught in depth at nursing schools but are an essential part of a nurse's knowledge base.
Because of this issue, the nursing community wants more education about end-of-life and hospice care. This issue will be the focus Friday at the University of Houston-Victoria School of Nursing's fifth annual Fall Nursing Forum.
"Eligibility and Ethics in Hospice Care and the End of Life" will be at UH Sugar Land. The forum is open to any licensed vocational nurse, registered nurse or advanced practice nurse.
"It is important for nurses to be prepared to talk with patients and families about health care across the whole life span," said Kathryn Tart, dean of the UHV School of Nursing. "The end of life can be an emotional topic, so continuing education, like this forum, is a great way for nurses to learn technical information and new methods when broaching the subject with patients and families."
The topic also is important for nurses because there is a growing interest in families choosing hospice care, said Jere Hammer, UHV School of Nursing assistant professor and president of the UHV Nursing Honor Society.
"Hospice is a different practice area than acute care," she said. "There are different ways to evaluate pain needs, talk to family members and address patients' wishes for their end of life."
Cheryl Brohard-Holbert, director of education at Houston Hospice, will discuss the technical side of hospice care during the forum. Attendees will learn different assessment tools used to predict the length of stay for patients. Brohard-Holbert also will discuss health insurance eligibility and limitations, as well as signs to look for in patients so they aren't admitted into the program too early or late.
Houston Hospice Chaplain Dan Danford then will address ethics and feelings involved with hospice care and the limits nurses face as health care providers. Nurses are usually more comfortable finding a way to fix people so they get better, Hammer said.
"It can be difficult for nurses to switch gears to meet the needs of dying patients and their families," she said. "Nurses have to learn to be in touch with their own feelings so that the patient can have an honorable, gentle and respectful end of life."
During the forum, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss new ideas with UHV nursing students, who will give poster presentations on evidence-based nursing care.
"This forum is a way for the UHV School of Nursing to give back and thank the hospitals and clinics that we partner with throughout the year," Tart said. "We are honored to have Houston Hospice experts provide education for nurses at this event and disseminate new knowledge on hospice health care."
Attendees can earn up to three contact hours through the Texas Nursing Association.
The forum is hosted by UHV, the UHV Honor Society of Nursing, UH System at Sugar Land, Houston Hospice and District 20 of the Texas Nurses Association.