Q How can acute and critical care nurses incorporate palliative care when caring for patients with life-limiting or life-threatening illness or injury?

A Bryan Boling, DNP, GANCP, replies:

There are 4 key ways that acute and critical care nurses can incorporate palliative care when caring for patients with life-limiting or life-threatening illness or injury: (1) by educating patients and families about palliative care, (2) by advocating for patients to receive palliative care, (3) by communicating effectively with patients and their families, and (4) by providing symptom relief to patients during the dying process.

Palliative care is often associated with death and dying and may be confused with hospice. Although the 2 services share similarities, palliative care is not exclusively for the end of life. Many patients, families, and even health care practitioners may view the addition of palliative care as giving up. However, it is better understood as “an approach...

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