Rarely, if ever, will a patient be enrolled in hospice care who isn’t currently on some regimen of prescription medications. To ensure a smooth transition and a high level of care for the patient, one of the first steps a hospice medical team will take is a prescription medication review.
As patients move closer to the end of their life, they are often shuffled from specialist to specialist and this can cause issues with medications. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, one in six older adults who are admitted to the hospital is because of an adverse drug event. This number increases to one in three for patients over the age of 75.
Performing a medication review ensures no medication errors slip through the cracks and helps the hospice provider fully understand the condition of the patient. Once the review is complete, the hospice provider can make any adjustments needed to make the patient comfortable.
One reason that prevents families from enrolling in hospice care is the fear that the patient will no longer be allowed to take the medications they have been prescribed. While a hospice provider may stop some prescription medication that is designed to offer long term health benefits, there are no rules against maintaining prescription medications that provide comfort to the patient.
The medications that are and are not prescribed to a patient will have a big impact on the quality of hospice care a patient receives. That’s why we take this aspect of palliative care so seriously. Our staff is passionate about finding the right medication regimen for each patient to ensure they are as comfortable as possible.