Category: Comfort Medications

Articles about common Comfort Medications used in hospice to keep a terminally ill patient comfortable through the dying process.

Methadone: A Compassionate Approach to Managing Terminal Pain

This article delves into the advantages of Methadone over Morphine for pain management in hospice settings. It covers dosage, titration, side effects, and scenarios where Methadone may not be the best choice. Ideal for hospice professionals and caregivers seeking compassionate pain relief options for the terminally ill.
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Best Practices for Managing Hallucinations

Flow Chart For Managing Hallucinations And Delusions
As an experienced hospice nurse, I understand the challenges faced by terminally ill patients and their families when dealing with hallucinations, especially in conditions like Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson's disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Hallucinations can be distressing and confusing for patients and their loved ones. Still, with the right approach and a combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods, we can help manage these symptoms to improve comfort and quality of life.
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Managing Terminal Restlessness

Exhausted Patient From Restlessness
Losing a loved one is an incredibly challenging experience, and witnessing changes in their behavior and well-being can be distressing. As a hospice nurse, I've supported many families and caregivers through this grim time. One common symptom that may arise towards the end of life is restlessness. In this article, I will explain the different types of restlessness and offer guidance on how to manage them. Understanding these distinctions can provide valuable insights into your loved one's condition and help you navigate the final stages of their life with compassion and care.
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Understanding the Decline of Terminally Ill Loved Ones: Medications vs. Disease Processes

Illness Trajectories And Palliative Care
When a loved one is terminally ill, it can be a perplexing and emotional journey. Understanding the root cause of their declining health becomes paramount. It's a complex puzzle where family members often grapple with questions: Are the symptoms a result of medications prescribed, or are they intrinsic to the terminal disease? This article delves into the critical distinctions between medication side effects and the natural progression of terminal illnesses, offering insights to empower families and caregivers in making informed decisions about their loved one's care.
Read MoreUnderstanding the Decline of Terminally Ill Loved Ones: Medications vs. Disease Processes

Presentation: Death, Dying, and Comfort Medications in Hospice Care

As an experienced hospice nurse, I understand that working in hospice care can be emotionally and physically challenging. In this presentation, I will share my knowledge and expertise on the topics of death and dying, as well as comfort medications including morphine, to help guide you in providing the best care for your patients.
Read MorePresentation: Death, Dying, and Comfort Medications in Hospice Care

Recognizing and Treating Common End of Life Symptoms

Guide to Recognize and Treat Common End of Life Symptoms provides tips on managing symptoms experienced by those at the end of their lives - Topics such as pain, shortness of breath, respiratory distress, and anxiety, and provides suggestions for medications and complementary therapies to help manage these symptoms.
Read MoreRecognizing and Treating Common End of Life Symptoms

Morphine and Lorazepam are not euthanizing agents

Morphine and Lorazepam do not hasten death
As a hospice nurse with years of experience, I have encountered many situations where family members are hesitant to allow their loved ones to receive medications such as morphine and lorazepam. One of the main reasons for this hesitancy is the belief that these medications will hasten death, leading to euthanasia. In this article, I want to address this concern and help family members and friends understand the use of morphine and lorazepam in hospice care.
Read MoreMorphine and Lorazepam are not euthanizing agents

Understanding Hospice Comfort Medications

As an experienced hospice nurse, I understand the challenges that terminally ill patients and their families face. One of the biggest challenges is managing symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and nausea. Hospice comfort medications can help provide relief and improve the quality of life for patients in their final days. In this article, we will discuss some of the most used hospice comfort medications and when they might be used for comfort.
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Understanding PRN Medications for Comfort Care

Hey there, my friend! As an experienced hospice nurse, I understand that managing symptoms for comfort is crucial for terminally ill patients. One of the ways we do this is through PRN medications. Today, I want to help you understand PRN medications and how they can be used in conjunction with scheduled medications.
Read MoreUnderstanding PRN Medications for Comfort Care

Air hunger management at end-of-life

I can count the times I’ve run into air hunger at the end of life as a visiting RN Case Manager for going on five years on one hand. Over the years, I’ve managed patients with pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancers (diverse types), breast cancer, COPD, congestive heart failure, B-cell lymphoma, leukemia, and other diseases that can impact one person’s ability to breathe correctly. Air hunger is rare in my firsthand experiences, but it can happen. Air hunger often sounds like the person is gasping for breath without regard to the actual respiratory rate (how fast they are breathing); it can also sound like stridor (YouTube videos below where you can hear the difference).
Read MoreAir hunger management at end-of-life

Liquifying Ativan pills for easier delivery

pills spread out on a table
Ativan, generically called Lorazepam, pills can be easily melted into liquid, and given to your loved one in a syringe. This is typically done vs. putting the pill under the tongue if your loved one has a dry mouth, and the Ativan pills are not melting under the tongue. The process of melting lorazepam into a liquid will require the following resources:
Read MoreLiquifying Ativan pills for easier delivery

Coughing Up Blood (hemoptysis) Symptom Management

Hemoptysis, or coughing up blood, can be a distressing symptom for patients at the end of their life journey. As a hospice nurse, your expertise in managing this symptom is crucial in ensuring a peaceful and comfortable experience for your patients and their families.
Read MoreCoughing Up Blood (hemoptysis) Symptom Management

Buccal vs Sublingual for Liquid Medications

Your dying patient has lost their gag reflex as part of the dying process. One of the questions I implore you to ask yourself is what’s the safest route to administer liquid medications? Well, before even going to answer this question, unless contraindicated, make sure the patient’s head of the bed is at least at a 30 to 45-degree angle (I prefer the latter). The buccal route is the safest route to administer liquid medications at the end of life in my experience. In practice, I strongly encourage you as well as the families we mutually teach to give any liquid medications on the side of the mouth least likely to have spillage — this depends on the position of the patient — and slowly over time giving the medication in 0.25 ml increments allowing for the absorption of the medication switching cheeks as applicable.
Read MoreBuccal vs Sublingual for Liquid Medications

Understanding Terminal Restlessness

Navigating the final days of a loved one's life can be a challenging and emotional journey. One of the signs that can be observed during this time is known as terminal restlessness. As someone deeply rooted in hospice care, I have witnessed various manifestations of this restlessness. Understanding its types, causes, and management strategies is crucial for providing compassionate end-of-life care. This article aims to illuminate the different kinds of terminal restlessness, identify reversible causes, and discuss effective management techniques. By equipping caregivers, families, and healthcare professionals with this knowledge, we can ensure that terminally ill individuals experience comfort and dignity in their final days.
Read MoreUnderstanding Terminal Restlessness

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