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End-of-Life Pain Management

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man with hand on stomach talks with loved one about end of life pain managementOne of the first questions we ask hospice patients is, “What really matters to you at the end of your life?” End-of-life pain management is often at the top of their list.

Evidence shows that people who get specialized care for their pain live longer, have less depression, and have a higher quality of life during the course of their illnesses. Call 833.380.9583 to speak with someone from Compassus about our pain management services and particularly how we handle hospice care pain management.

What to Expect from End-of-Life Pain Management with Compassus

Our end-of-life pain management team comprises professionals specializing in pharmacology, physical therapy, psychology, and nutrition. We provide comprehensive care that includes non–medication-based approaches like massage therapy, yoga, and music therapy. Our end-of-life pain management team understands that end-of-life care is a difficult journey, but we are here to help make it as comfortable as possible. 

Talk About Pain Management Services Early and Often

Effective pain management begins with a conversation about your goals and what you want as care progresses. Everyone deals with pain and pain medication differently. This is the time to share your or your loved one’s:

  • Current level of pain
  • Tolerance for pain
  • Preferred medical response to pain

If a patient cannot communicate their pain level, our hospice team has experience working with families to identify pain and co-manage treatment. Different types of pain, such as bone or nerve pain, respond to different medications. Knowing if the pain is in one place or radiates, if it’s constant or comes and goes, helps patients get the right balance of medications and therapies.

Staying Ahead of Pain Is a Critical Part of Care

Understanding how and when to take medications is essential for controlling pain. Patients must take most pain medications on a strict schedule and exactly as prescribed, regardless of current pain levels. 

How to Deal with the Sudden Onset of Pain

The keys to dealing with breakthrough pain are:

  • “Reading” a patient for early signs of pain
  • Quickly addressing that pain
  • Close communication between family caregivers, doctors, and the hospice team

In many cases, longer-acting medications can help reduce the frequency of breakthrough pain, but there may be times when a patient needs an extra dose. Access to someone knowledgeable about end-of-life pain management and who can adjust medication as needed is vital to managing pain. 

Questions to Consider About Hospice Care Pain Management

Below are some of the most common queries about pain management services that are part of hospice care.

Managing pain is about finding the right balance of pain relief while maintaining the quality of life. This requires honest and regular conversations with your doctor, nurses, and pharmacists.

Opiate medications are an effective option for aggressively treating pain. Some of the fears about opioids aren’t relevant to hospice care. The grogginess associated with opioids almost always tapers off after a few days without any reduction in controlling pain.

When opioids are used as prescribed, addiction is not a problem for hospice patients. Patients should never feel ashamed about taking doctor-prescribed medicine to ease the pain of a terminal illness. Families sometimes fear that opioids will hasten their loved one’s death. Uncontrolled pain can sap a person’s energy in both body and mind. Studies and experience show that precise doses of opioids can help patients regain their strength and extend better quality of life. 

Medication side effects, including constipation and nausea, are often easily controlled in hospice patients. Talk to your caregivers about unwanted side effects. Doctors can reduce or adjust medications or suggest alternate therapies. 

Find End-of-Life Pain Management Services at Compassus

Our home health approach is person-centered, which means we tailor care plans to meet each patient’s needs. For most patients, end-of-life pain management services are crucial, so they’re often part of home health care plans. Contact Compassus today at 833.380.9583 to speak with someone from our knowledgeable and experienced team about our home health services, particularly those concerning end-of-life pain management.