Arclight Hospice uses many types of pharmaceuticals to ensure that our patients are kept comfortable. Our team is very experienced in managing symptoms that hospice patients face. Hospice medications to ease symptoms are free for our patients. They use nationally and intersect nationally accepted protocols when determining medical treatments.
Comfort is a primary goal of hospice care. Some patients initially come into Hospice having experienced a lot of pain. Others never have pain. Our team works closely with pharmacies to ensure that our patients receive the proper medications to meet their needs. These needs frequently change, especially as the end of life gets closer.
We use medications combined with other pain-relieving interventions, such as positioning, through gentle touch and music. Having a calm environment is often key to patient comfort.
Care providers use a wide array of methods can be utilized to administer medication. Some patients use natural remedies such as herbs two through their discomfort. The Hospice medical team orders common medications such as acetaminophen to relieve pain.
Narcotics are also employed. Medications such as morphine can manage pain, relieve breathing problems, and promote relaxation. We often use medicines in combination. Each of the drugs helps the other to work more effectively. For example, some of the meds used to treat anxiety enable us to use lower doses of more potent narcotics.
We also use medicines for their side effects sometimes, which may sound unusual. For example, some of the medications used to reduce anxiety have the side effect of drying the tissues. Under most circumstances, that would not be a desirable trait. However, if a person is very congested and anxious, giving medicine to treat anxiety that has a side effect of drying up secretions solves two issues at once for the patient.
As you can see from these examples, ordering medication requires a high level of expertise. our medical team is very knowledgeable about the medicines we use. They constantly stay abreast of best practices worldwide and nationwide.
Arclight Hospice nursing staff members are experts at evaluating patients for their levels of comfort. They know how to do this even when patients are unconscious. For example, if a patient is very restless, it might be because they are uncomfortable.
In addition to medicines to treat pain, breathing problems, and anxiety, hospice patients sometimes need medicines to treat agitation. We use several different treatments to help relieve terminal agitation. Terminal agitation often occurs within the last few weeks of life. It can be very hard for family members and patients to experience. Fortunately, our staff is very knowledgeable about terminal agitation and ways to manage it.
Arclight Hospice medical providers have expertise in managing symptoms of dementia with medication when needed.
The benefits and risks of all medicines are evaluated carefully and discussed with you. As the end of life draws near, many patients no longer need routine medications that they used to require. Our medical staff is skilled at determining when medicines are no longer of use. For example, many people have been taking drugs to manage cholesterol for years. Cholesterol builds up slowly. There is little use in taking a medicine to prevent cholesterol buildup in the last months of life.
The Arclight Hospice team will work closely with you when recommending and ordering medications. Please speak with our nurses or one of the medical staff if you have questions. We welcome any questions that you have about medications and their use.