Oct 8, 2021
It’s a hospice patient’s right to choose how medications are managed. Deprescribing (simplifying or reducing) meds can be a huge benefit to both patient and caregiver. There’s a myth that all the medications will be stopped when a seriously ill patient is admitted to hospice services. Not true!! Medications for hospice patients are reviewed by the doctor and the team when hospice services start. The patient and/or caregiver is part of that discussion. Often the patient reports the number of medications is a burden. In hospice we call it “pill burden”. Too many medications, along with their side effects, can eventually contribute to caregiving burden and to the suffering of a terminally ill patient. The hospice IDT and doctor will also look at stopping medications that no longer benefit the patient, or are contraindicated. As a patient’s symptoms and needs change, meds will be adjusted. Those adjustments can be frequent and fast paced to get a patient comfortable. Depending on the symptoms, meds can be given in different forms - pills, drops, liquids, gels, suppositories, inhaled solutions. In certain circumstances injectable medications are used, but the goal is always the comfort of a patient. It’s important to remember that deprescribing is never done without the consent of the patient, and is always done with the best interest of both patient and caregiver. If you need more information about hospice philosophy and practices, check out theheartofhospice.com. We’ve got podcasts to support your end of life experience with episodes on the hospice team, levels of care, caregiving, grief, and bereavement. Send any questions firstname.lastname@example.org. You are The Heart of Hospice.