Breathlessness at end of life: what community nurses should know (2017)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Pickstock, Shirley

Journal of Community Nursing; Oct 2017; vol. 31 (no. 5); p. 74-77

The provision of end of life care is important core work for community nursing teams. Once end of life has been recognised, a focus on palliation of symptoms and an emphasis upon assisting people to ‘live well until they die’ becomes paramount. Breathlessness is a common distressing symptom for patients, significantly affecting their quality of life and is sometimes the cause of unnecessary admissions to hospital. This article explores the pathophysiology of breathing and breathlessness and offers some thoughts on history-taking and physical assessment, skills that nurses in advancing practice roles are now undertaking in the community setting to enhance the care they deliver to patients. This article aims to support community nurses to gain knowledge to inform the provision of effective evidence-based care and assist patients and their families to manage breathlessness at end of life.

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