Pain & Symptom Management
Often one of the greatest fears of Hospice patients is that they will experience unbearable pain. At the heart of Hospice is a focus on pain control and symptom management that helps patients make the most of their remaining days.
Hospice Nurses and Medical Directors are well versed in the latest pharmaceutical options and the best medical delivery modalities to manage pain and control other symptoms. Hospice Nurses are skilled in assessing and managing pain symptoms in ways that allow patients to remain as pain free and alert as possible.
Most pain can be effectively controlled with medication. Hospice patients are instructed to follow a specific around-the-clock pain medication schedule, which when complied with generally achieves good outcomes in the goal of remaining pain free. Also, a patient’s level of pain will frequently decrease when anti-anxiety drugs are prescribed in conjunction with analgesics.
If patients are unable to swallow medications, Hospice professionals prefer to use sublingual or rectal medications, rather than injections, IVs or pumps. Quite effective, these preferred methods are also easily administered by the caregiver and less painful.
Patients taking analgesics (narcotics) are often instructed to take a stool softener and laxative to prevent constipation. Nausea and vomiting are managed with anti-emetic medications usually given before meals. Catheters may be inserted, as needed, for relief of urinary incontinence and retention.Caregivers are instructed in preventing skin breakdown (pressure ulcers). If patients are unable to turn and develop pressure ulcers on the skin the Hospice staff may use special dressings that can be left on the compromised areas for several days.