A Guide to Pain Management For Hospice PatientsArclight Hospice Agency
While we all have a general idea of what pain management is all about, it can be a bit different when it comes to hospice patients. And from that, comes certain misconceptions that worry people when taking their loved ones into hospice care.
Some worry that their afflicted family members may be given too many prescription drugs for their own good. Others have concerns about the potential severe suffering that their loved ones may go through, and in most cases, it’s all brought on by the anxiety of not being physically present for them.
This article should help clarify pain management for hospice patients, while also clearing any misconceptions. So be sure to read until the end.
Prescription Drug Protocols
It is correct to assume that certain prescription drugs will be part of the pain management protocols in a hospice. But given that such drugs are in play, they aren’t administered carelessly.
But before we get into the actual process and what it looks like, it’s important to first tackle the drugs that are involved. Usually, patients are given opioids like morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and methadone.
Now, given the 2021 CDC report where it was found that more than 100,000 people die annually from opioid overdose, the concerns about administering such drugs are understandable. But every hospice follows a strict protocol where they assess whether or not a patient should continue their opioid medication, for one. The dangers and risks of opioid use are also given as a constant reminder. This helps prevent any potential cases of overdose.
Emotional Pain Management
Another huge hurdle that many hospice patients deal with his emotional pain. This could involve anxiety and stress, which lead to unhealthy lifestyle circumstances like poor food choices and improper sleeping habits.
In this case, patients would usually be prescribed downer medications like Ativan or Valium to help them deal with their anxiety. But apart from these over-the-counter drugs, they will also be subjected to several forms of therapy or regular visits from a social worker or chaplain.
The Lower Likelihood of Addiction
We mentioned this in passing in an earlier section, but let’s delve into it in more detail. One of the biggest concerns that family members have about hospice pain management is that their loved ones may develop an addiction to opioids. While we did mention the strict protocols, the chances of it happening are also lower.
That’s because people who enter hospice care are either in severe pain and are in need of such medications, or they’re in the final stages of life. Getting hooked on prescription medication isn’t happening because there isn’t time to develop an addiction.
A Hospice Facility With a Trusted Pain Management Program
Especially if you’re in the Los Angeles area and are looking for a hospice facility with a reliable pain management program, we at Arclight Hospice are at your service. We have a team of physicians and nurses who are more than equipped to identify visual cues of a patient’s level of comfort. In turn, they’ll be able to provide the appropriate care methods. For inquiries, call us at (213) 370-1205.