VA Palo Alto Health Care System is proud of the nursing assistants who work in the Community Living Centers (CLCs)! 30 nursing assistants from the Menlo Park Division completed a training series that provided them with special skills to care for Veterans receiving hospice and palliative care services.
The nursing assistants attended interactive classes on several topics, including communication with Veterans and families, pain management, symptom management, and how to care for the Veteran when dealing with end-of-life issues. The classes were taught by eight Menlo Park nurses who earned a distinction as Certified Hospice Nurse Educators from the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) in advance of teaching the nursing assistant courses.
"We wanted to provide education specifically for nursing assistants about end-of-life topics because they are essential to the care of our dying Veterans," said Kendra Deja, palliative care nurse practitioner and one of the eight Certified Hospice Nurse Educators on the Menlo campus. "Nursing assistants often spend the most time with the residents and their families of anyone on the team, so we wanted to provide them with the skills to be an active participant in our Veterans' sacred last moments."
The four-hour training series offered was voluntary, and the 30 nursing assistants who completed the program were honored at a graduation ceremony on November 18, 2010, which was attended by Gloria Martinez and Ann Narciso from nursing leadership.
In her comments to the graduates, Gloria Martinez, VAPAHCS Nurse Executive, reiterated how essential nursing assistants are to carrying out the VA's mission of excellent end-of-life care for our Veterans.
The nursing assistants are now eligible to apply for a national certification exam for Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing Assistants offered through collaboration between the VA and the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.
Congratulations to the Menlo Park Division nursing assistants on completing the Hospice and Palliative Care Training Series. Thank you for all you do for our CLC Veterans and families!
For more information, visit the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Web site.