Hospice care is the best care option for a patient facing a life-limiting illness. There are however various myths and misconceptions surrounding hospice care. One of the prevalent misconceptions is that caregivers in hospice centers overmedicate patients with pain medications or leave them in excruciating pain.
Nothing could be farther from this reality, more so in a hospice care center based in Indiana such as the Hospice of the Calumet Area. Unfortunately, most patients facing a life-limiting condition are in considerable pain and require some method of pain relief.
Here are the typical pain relief methods used in hospice centers.
Opioids are the choice drug for relief of severe pain in hospice patients. These act on the brain’s pain receptors in the nervous system and efficiently diminish pain. Health care providers in hospice may switch the type of opioid, dosage or frequency of the opioid to minimize the risk of addiction. In addition to opioids, NSAIDs are also prescribed for moderate pain.
Some life-limiting conditions more so those affecting the bones and nervous systems might benefit from a good massage to alleviate pain. This is typically offered in conjunction with physiotherapy and a few centers aromatherapy and acupuncture. A good massage calms the patient and relieves tense muscles typical in immobile patients hence reducing pain.
Stress and tension have been shown by several research studies to aggravate pain. Psychological symptoms manifesting as anxiety and restlessness can be relieved by counseling and sometimes anti-anxiolytics like valium. Providing a calm and soothing environment is one of the most efficient methods of alleviating pain in hospice patients.
The above pain management options are aimed at making your loved one as comfortable as possible. Efficient pain and symptom control have been shown to prolong the life of hospice patients to some extent. You should therefore not let the misconception of inefficient pain control or overmedication stop you from seeking hospice care services if your loved one needs it.