Dispelling a Common Myth in Hospice Care – No More Medications
A common fear someone with a terminal illness may have is that signing onto hospice means stopping all their medications which they believe could hasten their death. This fear often delays people from choosing hospice for their end-of-life needs. We want to share with you the truth about medications and hospice care.
One of the purposes of hospice care is to add quality of life to your remaining days. For some, this may mean a discussion about stopping certain medications. There are several reasons we would consider this.
- Oftentimes, you have seen many different Providers who may not be aware of all the different medications you are taking. This can result in your taking multiple medications for the same problem.
- Some medications are meant to be taken only for a short time but didn’t get stopped.
- Medications can cause side effects you may not even be aware of. For example, cholesterol lowering medications can cause muscle soreness you may not even realize is from the medication.
- Some medications, like vitamins, are just no longer helpful once you have a terminal illness.
All of these result in what is called pill burden and once you stop taking medications you no longer need, you may find you feel so much better.
A hospice professional will look at all the medications the patient is taking and have a conversation with the patient.
Once you are on hospice, a Unity Registered Nurse will look at all the medications you is taking and then have a conversation with you about the potential risks and benefits of stopping some medications.
It is quite possible, for comfort and quality of life, you will remain on all your medications as you come on to hospice care. Your Unity RN will regularly re-evaluate if your medications remain beneficial. As you begin to a decline in your abilities, you may have difficulty swallowing or spend more time in bed, leading to another review of which medications are no longer necessary. Your Unity RN will seek the input of your Provider for all these types of decisions.
Your Unity hospice team wants you and your family to be active participants in your care. We welcome your concerns and questions about your medications. We are here to guide you and your family but ultimately you will determine the goals for your end-of-life journey. Unity’s hospice team will be there to provide you unwavering strength, compassion and support along the way.
Contact Unity 24/7 if you have any questions or call Unity Hospice at 800-990-9249 to learn more about how we can support you.
This blog post was shared by Sonja K., Clinical Nurse Specialist at Unity Hospice.
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