Hospice Case Manager Nurses Training and Duties

A hospice case manager nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who is responsible for overseeing the care of hospice patients.

Female nurse with male patient in hospital
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Hospice case manager nurses have been specially trained in specific fields such as evaluating and caring for ​terminally ill patients. They are also trained on how to deal with the family or caregivers of the patient. Dealing with concerned loved ones can often be difficult, and such training helps the nurses relate and communicate. Additionally, the hospice case manager nurse is an expert at recognizing and evaluating symptoms. They work closely with the hospice physician to treat distressing symptoms and improve patient comfort.


A hospice case manager nurse educates families and caregivers of the patient on recognizing potential symptoms and providing safe and competent care for the patient. They offer emotional and practical support for both the patient and their family or caregivers.

Other skills are also necessary for a hospice case manager nurse. The case manager nurse must have excellent communication skills. They have to be able to express their exact thoughts, ideas, and feelings, and they have to do so in a manner that is helpful and comforting to the patient and the family and friends of the patient. Communication is a centrally important aspect of the hospice process, so good communication skills are a must for case manager nurses.

Hospice case manager nurses also have to be comfortable with dying patients. Some individuals have a difficult time being around dying patients or death in general. While this is completely fine, such individuals are probably not cut out to be a case manager nurse.

Time management skills are also extremely important for manager nurses, as they are responsible for many various aspects of treatment in regards to time management. At the most basic level, they have to be where they say they will be, on time, all the time. The health and well-being of a patient may depend on a case manager nurse and it is imperative that they are where they need to be when they need to be there. Manager nurses are also often in charge of a patient's schedule, including the intake of medication on a schedule, which is obviously another extremely important aspect of care. Lastly, case manager nurses should be compassionate and patient and respect the unique differences of their patients.

The Palliative Care Team

The hospice case manager nurse works as a part of the palliative care team. They supervise the care of home health aides (HHA) and licensed vocation nurses (LVN's). They work closely with the hospice social worker, chaplain, and volunteers to coordinate physical, emotional, and spiritual care of the patient and family.

1 Source
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  1. Ellington L, Reblin M, Clayton MF, Berry P, Mooney K. Hospice nurse communication with patients with cancer and their family caregiversJ Palliat Med. 2012;15(3):262-268. doi:10.1089/jpm.2011.0287

By Angela Morrow, RN
Angela Morrow, RN, BSN, CHPN, is a certified hospice and palliative care nurse.