In certain stages of life or in the case a person has terminal illness death is inevitable and for that reason, the only thing that helpsis to control the pain in these patients.
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As stated by Saunders (2007) most patients at the dying stage will experience symptoms such as pain, vomiting, nausea, respiratory secretions, fatigue, and dyspepsia. All these symptoms are painful and therefore the main goal of hospice careis to control or reduce the pain experienced by patients.As stated by Connor (1998), “the patient and the family are a critical part of the hospice team.”
Pain control in patients is of interest to both the patient, their families and the government has a role to play in ensuring that it issues guidelines that regulate hospice care. The law that regulates hospice care also requires that pain control should be the main goal in hospice care. In hospice care, the use of medication is the main method that controls pain even though there are other known methods of pain control.
The main work of a hospice nurse is to deal with patients who have severe pain.As stated by Jackson and Abraham (2005),Nurses should give pain control medication in appropriate time and we should not always respond due to distress in patients. The use of medication has become the main method of pain control among patients.
The use of narcotics has widely been applied in reducing pain among patients. Even though the use of narcotics is an effective method of pain control, respiratory depression is a major side effect resulting from it. Respiratory depression is a condition whereby the breathing of a patient becomes slow and weaker and in severe cases, the breathing may stop. The termination of breathing resulting from the use of narcotics in most cases is temporary but in some cases, it might be permanent resulting in the death of the patient.
This is just one of the examples of the side effects caused by the use of medication in pain control. Hospice service other medicationsand most of them if not allhave side effects. The question of the type of medication or the dosage for a patient therefore remains a major concern to us when we are providing hospice care services.
In hospice care the death of the patient although in some cases being inevitable should be prevented and incase it occurs it should not result from a mistake committed by a hospice service provider. Pain management in this stage of life is a right to the patient and a duty to the caregiver. Even though this is the obligation of hospice care, most families have stated that at the end of their lives most of their loved ones suffered from pain due to lack of treatment (Jackson & Abraham, 2005).
In order to be effective in my duties as a hospice service provider then applying the standard protocols in prescribing medication is essential. These protocols outline the methods for changing, increasing the dosage, or adjusting the medication used in patients.
The first medications that I will begin pain treatment with are the types referred to as over the counter medicine forexample,Tylenol and Aspirin.When the illness continues to develop the result will be an increase in pain to levels where over the counter medications are not effective. In such cases as a nurse, I will prescribe other medications that are much stronger such as narcotic based medication.
Connor, S. (1998) Hospice: Practice, pitfalls, and promise. New York: Taylor & Francis Publishers.
Jackson, V., &Abraham, J. (2005). Ethical considerations in effective pain management at the end of life. Web.
Saunders, C. (2007). End of life: Anurse’s guide to compassionate care. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.