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Becoming a Hospice Care Medical Assistant

Posted On Nov 15, 2021

Medical assistants are highly versatile members of any healthcare team. They’re unique compared to most healthcare workers as they’re cross-trained to perform both clinical and administrative duties. While most medical assistants work in physicians’ offices, they can be found in numerous healthcare settings, including hospitals, laboratories, nursing homes, in-home care, schools, prisons, and more.

Hospice medical assistant giving a patient a glass of water.

A medical assistant can also choose to work in hospice care. Hospice care focuses on the quality of life of individuals who are in the final stages of a terminal illness. Rather than treating the disease, hospice care prioritizes managing and relieving the symptoms, ensuring the patient is as comfortable as possible. Hospice care can take place at the patient’s home, in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, or hospitals. 

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If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant and working in hospice care, your primary duties may include feeding, bathing, dressing, and administering medication, as well as monitoring and recording patient vital signs. One difference in hospice care is it requires 24/7 care, so you may be required to work shifts outside of normal business hours. 

If you’re serious about working in hospice care, there are certain soft skills you should possess. Soft skills vary from hard skills (also known as technical skills) and are personal attributes you use to enhance and influence the way you communicate and relate to coworkers, patients, and their family members.  

Here are a few examples of soft skills needed to work in hospice care: 

Empathy 

Empathy is more than just having a good bedside manner. It’s the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to gain a better understanding of what they’re going through. If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant and working in hospice care, showing empathy towards your patients and their loved ones is critical. You need to be able to connect with your patients and their families by showing sensitivity and compassion for what they’re dealing with. 

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Communication Skills 

Medical assistants working in hospice care must demonstrate excellent communication skills and compassion. They’re required to respond to every aspect of patient care and update families on their condition. They should also have excellent observational skills and be able to quickly alert physicians and nursing staff of any critical changes in the patient. 

Stress Management 

Stress is a part of every workplace, but in hospice care, the stress is magnified. You must be willing to stay calm and collected despite working in a pressure filled, fast-paced environment. Healthcare workers are at high risk of burnout if they don’t practice proper stress-management techniques. The most successful medical assistants know how to handle pressure, but they also tend to thrive under pressure, too. 

Positive Attitude 

All employees should strive to possess a positive attitude, but for those in hospice care, a positive attitude is a must. Even with heavy demands placed on medical assistants, it’s important that they focus on maintaining a sunny outlook. The harsh realities of hospice care can easily wear medical staff down, which can lead to stress and other negative outcomes, so it’s crucial that you try and maintain a positive, cheerful disposition to help you properly care for your patients and their loved ones who are going through a difficult and traumatic experience. 

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When assessing if you have the appropriate soft skills for becoming a medical assistant, keep in mind that many of these soft skills can be taught or developed throughout your training. Athena Career Academy can help! Contact us today to get started on your own medical assisting journey. 

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Athena Career Academy is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education. The school is registered with the Ohio Board of Career Colleges and Schools; State of Ohio – School Registration Number – 10-09-1943T and operates under the authority of the Ohio Board of Nursing. Please contact the Student Operations Manager for more information.

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