Hospice Care: Common Medications Prescribed for Patients

Hospice care can be provided in an inpatient hospital, at home, in a nursing home or any facility for assisted living. Hospice is designed to serve cases where a severe illness has no cure or a patient decides not to undergo treatment anymore. In another situation, the disease may not be responding to any attempts for treatment.

Hospice care providers in Indiana offer comprehensive and comfortable care for the patient while supporting the family. However, there are no attempts to stop the illness. It brings different specialists together, including spiritual advisors, doctors, nurses and social workers. Even though treatment is not pursued, medication is often used. Some common medications include the following.

Acetaminophen

Research shows that this drug is commonly prescribed in hospice care as Tylenol. It helps to lower pain and reduce fever. Patients experiencing minor pains and aches like toothaches, backaches and headaches can find relief with the drug. It may also be used to alleviate discomfort from common colds or arthritis-related pains.

Acetaminophen has rare side effects, but when they happen, they include a decreased appetite, stomach pains, nausea and dark urine. The drug can interact with other medications, so it needs to be used carefully.

Anticholinergic

This helps in the regulation of muscle relaxation and contraction. One common medicine is Benadryl. People with asthma, muscle spasms, COPD, breathing problems and movement disorders can benefit from these drugs.

The drugs have side effects including constipation, confusion, blurred vision, dry mouth and delirium. Since anticholinergics can worsen conditions like Alzheimer’s, they must be used sparingly. They must also not be given to patients using antipsychotics, anti-diarrheal drugs and some antidepressants.

Antidepressant

Most hospice patients, especially those who have dementia, lung disease and cancer enjoy the use of antidepressants. These help to treat symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders, dysthymia and seasonal affective disorders.

Commonly used antidepressants inhibit the uptake of serotonin. Examples are Zoloft and Prozac. One can expect side effects including constipation, agitation, diarrhea or insomnia. For some people, they even cause weight loss. As a thing to note, alcohol should not be taken by someone on antidepressants.

Anxiolytic

This medication deals with anxiety, but it is also useful for people with conditions like panic disorder, depression, insomnia and vomiting. Side effects may include confusion, drowsiness, headaches, sedation and sexual dysfunction. Often, anxiolytics lead to a gain in weight. They must not be taken with pioglitazone, alcohol and buspirone.

Variety of medicines and drugs

Atropine drop

Hospice care uses eye drops as opposed to injections when it comes to reducing saliva and mucus secretion. Atropine may also treat excessive stomach acid production, colitis and specific heart disorders. Sometimes it is used with IBS. Side effects of the drug include urinary problems, dry mouth and constipation.

Besides medication, hospice care provides resources needed to care for the spiritual and emotional needs of the person. No wonder, every patient will have a team with the different professionals so that they can offer care that is unique to the life experiences of the patient. In that sense, no program will be exactly like another.