Just like you have first aid kits in your vehicles and in your homes in case of any emergency, patients in hospice care should have access to medicines for their symptoms. Since patients in hospice care suffer from terminal illnesses, their symptoms may escalate quickly. This is why it is important to have a hospice comfort kit at home.
What is a Hospice Comfort Kit?
A hospice comfort contains medicines and other medical paraphernalia that hospice care patients need in case of an emergency where their symptoms escalate.
Each hospice comfort kit is designed specially to deal with the specific needs of every patient. It is customized to tackle any complications that their specific ailments may cause.
A hospice comfort kit basically contains emergency medicines that are delivered to your doorstep and don’t need a prescription or a refill.
What are hospice comfort kit contents?
The hospice comfort kit, for example, may contain medicines to manage pain, anxiety and other such symptoms.
It may also contain medicines for increased secretions or nausea as the bodily functions slow down when a patient is nearing end of life. Here are some of the most common drugs in a hospice comfort kit-
1. Pain Management
One of the most common symptoms experienced by patients in hospice care is severe pain. Most hospice comfort kits contain pain relief medicines for the same reason.
There are several indicators that a hospice patient is experiencing pain and needs medicines to help them deal with this symptom. Here are some signs that caretakers should look out for-
- Rapid blinking
- Fidgeting, pacing or restlessness
- Mood swings- increased anger or frustration
- Increase in blood pressure
- Change in body posture
Here are some of the pain medications you can find in a hospice comfort kit :
Morphine liquid is the most effective medicine against pain caused by terminal illnesses. It is also effective medicine against shortness of breath. These are the reasons why morphine liquid is added to most hospice comfort kits.
This is another effective opioid that can ease the pain caused by terminal conditions. This is one of the medicines prescribed for pain management and are often present in hospice comfort kits.
- Acetaminophen Suppository
This medicine is commonly prescribed to hospice care patients when they are experiencing milder pain or have fever due to their symptoms.
2. Anxiety Medicines
Terminal illnesses are taxing and often lead to mental health struggles along with physical problems. This is why there are medicines to address this issue in the hospice comfort kit-
Lorazepam provides instant relief from anxiety and is one of the most common medicines found in a hospice comfort kit. It is an effective cure for insomnia as well.
Haloperidol is added to hospice comfort kits in order to tackle breathlessness or anxiety.
3. Controlling Secretions
As a patient nears the end of life, they experience increased and uncontrolled secretions. This is why medicines in hospice comfort kits include medicines for bodily secretions-
Atropine ophthalmic solution
This is used to reduce secretions in the mouth and throat.
Many terminal patients experience increased secretions in the nasal passage which causes wet breath or death rattle. Levsin helps tackle this problem.
4. Nausea or Vomiting
Many terminally ill patients also experience symptoms like nausea or vomiting due to their condition. Here are some medicines prescribed to patients in hospice care-
Compazine is a medicine that helps stop nausea and vomiting both. It is administered as a pill or a rectal repository.
This is a rectal repository that is given to patients who cannot swallow their pills it is used to treat vomiting.
It is the most common antiemetic that helps to stop vomiting.
What Hospice Comfort Kit Instructions Should I Follow?
Hospice comfort kit is meant for emergencies and should be used carefully. Although the kits are delivered to the patient regularly, one should rely on the right prognosis and observe the symptoms before using it. The hospice comfort kit can be used when the present symptoms worsen or new symptoms emerge. In these instances, the caretakers should use the medicines in the hospice comfort kit with the following things in mind :
1. Contact the Professionals
The hospice comfort kit is meant for emergencies and tends to empower caretakers to tackle new or severe symptoms without having to rush to a hospital or wait for a prescription to be filled. However, one should always consult the hospice care team or talk to their doctor to ensure they are providing the right care and medicines to the patients.
Oftentimes it is difficult to make the right judgement and small changes may seem more severe than they are. It’s always a good practice to discuss with your trusted healthcare professionals before you use the medicines in the hospice comfort kit.
2. Get Educated
There are several prescription pills present in the hospice comfort kit. They may be oral pills or rectal repositories. This is why each caretaker should know all the contents of the hospice comfort kit. They should also be educated about the need for these pills and when to give the patients what medicines. To make sure the caretakers can make the right decisions when it is required, the hospice service should educate them.
There are many ways in which hospice care impacts the quality of life for both the caretakers and patients. A hospice comfort kit is a great way to stay prepared for emergencies. Since the hospice services take care of the contents and prepare a kit after much consideration, it is of great help to caretakers who don’t have to figure out their needs and find these medicines on their own.
It is also the best way for patients to tackle their symptoms and ensure that they get the best care and do not have to deal with aggravating symptoms for long. It also ensures they get quick attention and treatment so recovery is much faster.