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August 09, 2021

The importance of Pain Management in Hospice Care

Pain Management in Hospice Care

It is normal to think we’ll always have more time with the ones we love, but when a family member develops an incurable illness, decisions need to be made.  When a loved one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, easing their suffering, and keeping them comfortable becomes a top priority.  Hospice Care Services can be a great support system for you and your loved one as the end of their life nears.  Hospice care can help guide family members through the emotional and mental process of dealing with a terminal illness, as well as follow them through bereavement.  You do not have to do this alone. 

Who qualifies for Hospice Care:

  • Patients who are diagnosed with a life-threatening condition giving them a prognosis of six months or less to survive.
  • Specific decline in conditions.
  • Deteriorating mental abilities.
  • Repeated hospitalization within six months.
  • An increase in fatigue, sleepiness, and weakness.
  • Change in awareness and functional abilities.
  • Specific diseases such as AIDS, cancer, COPD, dementia, Alzheimer, ALS, CHF, or Parkinson’s.  

When a patient meets Hospice care requirements, treatment can begin.  This includes pain management which will help to make the end of a patient’s life easier and more peaceful.  Without pain management, experiencing serious pain can steal the precious time families have left with their loved ones.  That is why one of the goals of Hospice is to provide patients with a high quality of life through pain management.  This will ensure their remaining time with you is more valuable.  It will also give them the opportunity to die with dignity in their home, nursing home, or assisted living.  Doesn’t everyone deserve that?

To manage pain appropriately and further prevent suffering, an assessment to rate a patient’s symptom level will first need to be done.  This will help the medical staff tailor the treatment to the patient’s pain level which is the key to receiving quality care.  It is important to have aggressive treatment for every type of pain a terminally ill patient is experiencing.


Four general standards used to prescribe pain medication:

  • The option of analgesic (painkillers) drug should be based on the type of pain a patient is experiencing.
  • Patients experiencing chronic or recurring pain should receive medication around the clock.  This minimizes side effects and prevents the patient from receiving doses lower than what would be prescribed.    
  • Patients experiencing occasional pain or breakthrough pain (sudden flare-up of pain) should administer medication as needed in addition to scheduled analgesics (painkillers).
  • Medication dosages should be measured to control pain effectively.  For most medications, adjusting dosage can be made every 24 to 48 hours.

  

Hospice care staff and clinicians are trained to help families manage their loved one’s end of life care.  Since caring for a dying family member can be demanding, the Hospice team can help support families and/or caregivers through the emotional, physical, and mental process it will have on them.  Hospice can also offer spiritual support without having religious affiliations.  Plus, they respect all cultures.    

If you are questioning if someone you love might need assistance with daily chores or routine activities, Home Instead is the home care service for you.  They can provide support and relief to your aging adult helping to put your mind at ease when you cannot be there.  Home Instead can also provide Hospice Care for if your loved one gets diagnosed with a terminal illness.  The compassion and care their patients receive help to build strong relationships that benefit the whole family.  You can contact Home Instead in the Lafayette, La area today at 337-656-0640 to speak to someone in the office.  They are waiting to answer all your questions.  You can also visit their website https://www.homeinstead.com/347/ to view all the services they provide.  Your aging family member is worth the call.    


Resources:

What is Hospice Care – https://www.cancer.org

Pain Management During End-of-Life – https://www.harborlighthospice.com

VITAS Supports Physicians in Managing Patient’s Pain – https://www.vitas.com

Managing Pain in the Dying Patient - https://www.aafp.org

Hospice Eligibility Criteria – https://www.crossroadshospice.com