Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hospice for Cancer Patients

{Please welcome our guest blogger: Danielle DiPietro from The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com}
Hospice and Pain Management for Cancer Patients
Hospice care provides a wide range of services for cancer patients. They offer medical monitoring, personal assistance and emotional support, as well as pain management. In one study, 67 percent of patients with metastatic cancer reported significant daily pain; for these patients, pain control is one of the most important services that hospice centers can provide.
Since higher levels of pain are related to higher rates of depression and lower rates of overall function, it is essential for cancer patients to find an effective pain control method. Hospice workers can develop a pain management plan that helps patients remain as comfortable as possible while maintaining a high quality of life.
Hospice workers are trained to interpret patient’s signals of pain and help them get through any painful symptom flare-ups that might occur. The on-staff doctor can adjust dosages and medications if the patient’s pain increases, or the nurses can help patients find a more comfortable resting position. The Medical Director will be able to arrange interventions on behalf of the patient if their pain is not adequately palliated. Federal guidelines are in place to make sure these professionals make every reasonable effort to help cancer patients control their pain.
Methods of Controlling Cancer Pain
Hospice patients have many different options for pain management. If they choose to go the pharmaceutical route, hospice doctors will typically start them off with an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen. If they need a stronger medication, they can try prescription medications such as fentanyl. Opioid medications have relieved pain in more than 90 percent of patients in certain studies.
Patients who are more interested in non-pharmaceutical methods of pain control have several different options, including:
·         Herbal pain relievers (i.e. white willow bark)
·         Acupuncture
·         Therapeutic massage
·         Chiropractic care
Unlike pills, these therapies are associated with a low risk of dependency or side effects. These therapeutic interventions can control pain for a temporary period of time, and they can easily be repeated whenever necessary.
However, hospice organizations do not directly provide these services. A hospice care worker may be able to transport patients to a third-party facility that does offer these pain-relief services. The goal of the hospice caregiver is to find methods of pain management that the patient prefers and feels most comfortable with. Patients can openly communicate with their hospice provider to discuss pain management options that best suit their needs and preferences.
Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.
Douglass, A. Managing Pain at the End of Life. American Family Physician (1 Oct 2001).
{Guest Blogger:
Danielle DiPietro
(407) 434-0732 ext. 24
Public Outreach
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com}

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Hospice of Southern Illinois
Community Education