When disease no longer responds to treatment and death is unavoidable, hospice is a term used to describe advanced care designed to offer comfort and support to patients and their families.
When disease no longer responds to treatment and death is unavoidable, hospice is a term used to describe advanced care designed to offer comfort and support to patients and their families. Hospice's goal is to improve a patient's quality of life at any point of their disease, which also includes dealing with intense pain.
According to federal regulations, hospices must make every rational effort to ensure that the patient's pain is managed. Pain management is a primary and mandatory feature of hospice care in most state laws regulating hospice.
Hospice Pain Management
One of the main aims of hospice care, a medical franchising facility, is to keep the patient comfortable and control their symptoms to have the best quality of life possible for as long as they live. While not all patients feel pain at the end of life, it is critical to recognize it and treat it effectively. Per visit, the hospice care team will assess a patient's discomfort using pain rating scales and the clinician's expertise.
Signs And Symptoms
Although many patients can assess and communicate their pain levels, others may feel that accepting pain makes them seem vulnerable, which is not the case. Some patients may be able to express their pain level. However, Alzheimer's syndrome and other dementias find it impossible for people to express their needs.
The FLACC scale ranges from zero to ten, with zero indicating no pain and ten indicating extreme pain is the perfect option for people unable to communicate their needs. The FLACC scale evaluates the face, legs, movement, crying, and consolability in five separate categories. In any situation, caregivers should be on the lookout for signs and symptoms that their loved one is in distress.
Some of the signs that a patient requires pain medication are listed below:
- Becoming more aggressive or easily angered
- Rocking, fidgeting, or pacing
- Increased breathing rate
- Becoming withdrawn
- Resisting care or guarding certain areas of the body when turning
- An increase in the patient's systolic blood pressure from their baseline
Hospice Pain Medication Protocol
Medication is an essential part of pain control in hospice. This involves the administration of opioids to alleviate pain. Opioids function by binding to "opioid receptors" in the brain and suppressing pain sensations. They're used to relieve pain that ranges from mild to extreme.
Moreover, there are other options of opioids that can be used on patients, such as Morphine, Oxycodone, Methadone, and Hydromorphone.
Managing Mental and Emotional Needs
Helping the patient relieve mental and emotional pain is part of a comprehensive pain management plan. Someone who is experiencing pain can feel depressed or nervous, which is understandable. It is important to address mental trauma and pain.
It may be beneficial to encourage people to talk about their feelings. You can speak with a professional, preferably one who specializes in end-of-life issues. Medicine can be helpful if the depression or anxiety is serious.
A simple act of physical contact, such as holding hands, a hug, or a gentle massage, can help a patient feel more responsive to those he or she cares about. It's often enough to be there with a patient suffering from pain.
Managing Spiritual Needs
Spiritual needs can be just as critical as physical needs for people suffering from pain. Seeking meaning in one's life and, if possible, resolving conflicts with others are spiritual needs. Unresolved problems with friends or family can help the patient find peace. A social worker or a psychologist can also be beneficial.
Misconceptions About Opioids In Hospice
Some families have expressed concerns about the use of opioids in hospice pain control. Although there have been many warnings of the risks of opioid abuse, this is not a problem for those nearing the end of their lives. Patients seeking hospice treatment have been given a six-month or less life expectancy. There is no time for addiction to grow. The main concern should be to use the most appropriate tool for pain relief.
Another worry that families have is that using opioids would hasten the death of a loved one. According to research, the opposite is real. Patients who receive hospice care live longer after their symptoms have been treated. Starting hospice treatment early in a patient's terminal diagnosis allows them to get their pain treated easily, allowing them to get the most out of hospice care.
Get Pain Management From Hospice Care
Many services are available if you or a loved one needs hospice care. Work with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action. A pain management specialist or a palliative care specialist may also assist you. Keep in mind that you have the right to be as pain-free as possible. There's no need to let suffering decrease your quality of life.
Find Quality Hospice Care For Your Loved One
If you or your loved one are eligible for hospice care, make sure to find a reputable hospice care provider that provides only the best care to its patients. SHG Hospice operates a hospice care franchise that can help you or a loved one. They will assist you no matter where you are.
Louie is the father behind the travel blog Browseeverywhere.com. He has a background in photography, E-commerce, and writing product reviews online at ConsumerReviews24. Traveling full time with his family was his ultimate past-time. If he’s not typing on his laptop, you can probably find him watching movies.