A Guide to Hospice Care for Cancer Patient Pain Management

cancer patient

Do you have a family member who has cancer? Are you looking for a peaceful home and able nurse to help them enjoy their last moments? Hospice care can help your loved ones live as comfortably as possible during the remaining days of their life. 

This branch of healthcare aims to give people who are not expected to live more than six months the best quality of life. Their mind, body, and spirit can be nurtured during these moments, and it involves managing cancer pain management. If you have a loved one with cancer who wants to enjoy the last days of their life, a hospice may be the best option for them. Here is a guide to hospice care for cancer patients: 

The Assessment of a Cancer Patient’s Pain

Pain is one of the major challenges for many cancer patients. It affects their ability to sleep, walk, or do everyday activities. Their quality of life can be hampered, which can make them feel worse about themselves.

Hospice teams are trained to assess their pain in order for them to give much-needed relief and allow patients to live comfortably. While some patients can communicate their pain, rating it from 1 to 10, care providers are also trained to see the nonverbal signs of pain. 

It allows people who can no longer communicate their feelings to be given the necessary treatments they need. This is extremely helpful for people with dementia or patients who are shy to express their feelings. Some of the signs a patient is in pain include:

  • Crying
  • Moaning or sighing
  • An increased rate of breathing
  • Closing their eyes tightly or blinking rapidly
  • Pacing, fidgeting, or rocking
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Resisting care
  • Guarding certain areas of their body while turning or being positioned
  • Holding their leg or arm muscles rigidly

Treatments and Medication for Cancer Patients

Medications are helpful in the multipronged approach of hospice. Usually, they give them ibuprofen as the first medication for mild to moderate pain. But, patients with advanced cancer are given opioids. 

Many people have reservations about opioids due to the possibility of addiction. For people who are nearing the end of their life, it is not a problem. It actually gives them relief because it works by attaching to the opioid receptors in our brain. This helps in blocking the feelings of pain, which relieves patients.

Instead of feeling severe pain, it might turn into moderate pain. Some of the most common opioids used on patients are hydromorphone, morphine, methadone, and oxycodone. Don’t worry; patients given opioids are monitored closely to avoid overdose. However, they may need higher doses as they may become immune to it. 

Another set of popular medications include adjuvant analgesics. One example is anticonvulsants, which relieve nerve-related pain. Steroids can be used to reduce inflammation in bones, and bisphosphonates can prevent fractures in patients.

Conclusion

It’s not just pain management that a hospice focuses on, but it also addresses the patient’s mind, body, and spirit. They provide emotional support to prevent anxiety in a patient. These are just some of the services hospice care offers to patients. Their goal is to give your loved ones the best quality of life despite their pain. 

The Gateway Home Health Hospice team is a home health care in Denver with professionals trained to help patients nearing the end of their lives. We are committed to providing the highest quality home-based patient care in an atmosphere of respect for human dignity. Our highly trained clinicians and therapists strive to exceed the expectations of our patients, families, caregivers, and physicians. Contact us today!

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