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Non-Invasive Ventilation: New Challenges For Hospice Nurses
  1. Ruth Palmer, Ward Manager
  1. Rugby Ward, St Christopher’s Hospice, London. Email: r.palmer{at}


Specialist palliative care units such as hospices are increasingly providing care for patients with non-malignant conditions. However, that means that palliative care nurses require education and training in the care of people with a variety of conditions, not just cancer. Also, palliative care nurses need to understand that they cannot be expected to know how to manage all conditions and therefore need to liaise with other specialist services. This article uses a case-scenario approach to describe the problems that arose during the nursing management of respiratory insufficiency, using non-invasive ventilation, in a patient with advanced motor neurone disease. Possible educational/training responses by which such problems might have been avoided are suggested. Since writing this article, Sheila, the patient upon whom the article is based, has died. To maintain confidentiality, Sheila is a pseudonym and other identifying details have been changed to preserve patient anonymity (Nursing and Midwifery Council, 2008). The author gained permission from her line manager to use this case as the basis of this article. Conflicts of interest: none

  • Education and training
  • Motor neurone disease
  • Non-invasive ventilation
  • Non-malignant conditions
  • Specialist palliative care
  • nursing

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