Hospice Nursing Assistant (HNA)

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Hospice Nursing Assistant (HNA)

What is a Hospice Nursing Assistant (HNA)?

A Hospice Nursing Assistant (HNA), also known as a Hospice Aide or Hospice CNA, is a healthcare professional who specializes in providing compassionate end-of-life care and support to patients with terminal illnesses. They work under the supervision of registered nurses (RNs) or licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in various healthcare settings, such as hospice centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and patients’ homes.

What are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Hospice Nursing Assistant (HNA)?

  1. Basic Patient Care: HNAs provide basic care to hospice patients, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting, while maintaining the patients’ dignity and respecting their personal preferences.
  2. Emotional Support and Comfort: HNAs offer emotional support and companionship to hospice patients and their families, helping to create a peaceful and comforting environment during end-of-life care.
  3. Pain and Symptom Management: HNAs assist with pain and symptom management by monitoring patients’ conditions, reporting any changes or concerns to the supervising nurse, and providing non-pharmacological interventions, such as massage, repositioning, or relaxation techniques.
  4. Personal Care Assistance: HNAs may help patients with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as eating, drinking, and mobility, ensuring their comfort and safety.
  5. Vital Signs Monitoring: HNAs may monitor and record patients’ vital signs, such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration rate, and report any abnormalities to the supervising nurse.
  6. Patient Safety: HNAs ensure the safety of hospice patients by adhering to strict safety protocols and helping to create a secure and hazard-free environment.
  7. Infection Control: HNAs follow strict infection control protocols to prevent the spread of infections among hospice patients and staff.
  8. Bereavement Support: HNAs may offer support to family members and loved ones during the grieving process, providing a compassionate presence and assisting with practical tasks, as needed.

Communication and Collaboration

HNAs must effectively communicate with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, physicians, and social workers, to ensure hospice patients receive appropriate care. They also provide updates on patients’ conditions and relay any concerns to the healthcare team.

Work Settings

HNAs work in various healthcare settings, including hospice centers, nursing homes, hospitals, and patients’ homes. Their work may involve irregular hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays, to provide continuous care to patients.


To become an HNA, individuals must first complete a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training program and obtain their CNA certification. Following this, they may be required to complete additional hospice-specific training, which may include classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience. Some states or employers may require HNAs to obtain a specific hospice certification, while others may accept a general CNA certification with hospice experience.

Continuing Education

HNAs may need to complete continuing education courses or participate in training workshops to maintain their skills and certifications.

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