Best Practice for After-Hours Hospice Symptom Management: A Literature Review

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Medicare-certified hospice home care agencies must provide a 24/7 on-call system to respond to patient and caregiver concerns. How these calls are handled impacts patient and family outcomes and satisfaction. Ideally, hospice nurses provide adequate caregiver education during routine visits to minimize the need for after-hours calls. A literature review provided evidence that hospice nurse education and appropriate telephone support improves symptom management, enhances family support, provides a sense of security, reduces anxiety, and promotes comfort.