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Assessment and management of pain near the end of life


... Assessment Defining goals for care and enpoints of pain management Use of opioids Appropriate use of opioids Managing ... Aggressive pain ... patients Usually ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Assessment and management of pain near the end of life

Assessment and management of pain near the end of
  • David Casarett MD MA
  • University of Pennsylvania

  • To describe an evidence-based approach to pain
    management near the end of life, with a focus on
  • Assessment
  • Defining goals for care and enpoints of pain
  • Use of opioids
  • Appropriate use of opioids
  • Managing opioid-related side effects
  • Beyond pain management the role of hospice in
    long term care

  • Clinicians in long term care
  • Physicians
  • RNs
  • Advance Practice Nurses
  • Surveyors
  • Quality Improvement leaders

  • Mr. Palmer is an 84 year old man with moderate
    dementia (MMSE15), severe peripheral vascular
    disease and coronary artery disease.
  • He currently lives in a nursing home, where he
    is dependent on others for most activities of
    daily living. He is able to speak in short
    sentences and can participate in health care
    decisions in a limited way. His daughter
    discusses his care with him, but ultimately makes
    all decisions for him.

Case, part 2
  • He suffers a fall that results in a fracture of
    the left hip and is evaluated in a hospital
    emergency room.
  • Because of his other medical conditions, high
    operative risk, and poor quality of life, his
    daughter decides with Mr. Palmer that he would
    not want to undergo surgery and instead would
    prefer to be kept comfortable.
  • He returns to the nursing home with a plan for
    comfort care, with an emphasis on pain

  • Scope of the problem pain near the end of life
    in nursing homes
  • Assessment
  • Background
  • Principles of assessment
  • Management
  • Establishing goals of care
  • Defining endpoints of pain management
  • Opioids-the mainstay of pain management near the
    end of life
  • Use of opioids
  • Management of side effects
  • Beyond pain management the role of hospice in
    the nursing home

Scope of the problem pain near the end of life
in nursing homes
  • Defining the end of life
  • No established definition
  • 6 month prognosis (hospice eligibility) not
  • Arbitrary
  • Difficult to determine accurately
  • Instead A resident is near the end of life if
    he/she has a serious illness that is likely to
    result in death in the foreseeable future
  • Operationalize as Would I be surprised if this
    resident were to die in the next year? (Joanne
  • Mr. Palmer Would not be surprisedperipheral
    vascular disease, coronary artery disease,
    dementia, recent hip fracture.

Scope of the problem Common serious illnesses in
the nursing home
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • Falls/Hip fracture
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Cirrhosis
  • Associated with pain

Prevalence of pain (all diagnoses)
  • Depends
  • Surveys 30-71
  • Medication audits 25-50
  • Hospice (Pain requiring intervention)
  • 25 (Casarett 2001)

What is the primary cause of pain?
  • Low back pain 40
  • Previous fractures 14
  • Neuropathy 11
  • Leg cramps 9
  • DJD (knee) 9
  • Malignancy 3 (Ferrell et al JAGS

What are the characteristics of pain in the
nursing home?
(Ferrell et al JAGS 1990)
Room for improvement?
  • Undetected in 1/3 (Sengstaken and King 1993)
  • Undertreated (Bernabei et al 1998)
  • Both (cognitively impaired) (Horgas and Tsai

Pain assessment
Adapted from AGS Persistent Pain Guidelines
Comprehensive pain assessment History
  • Evaluation of Present Pain Complaint
  • Self-report
  • Provider/family reports
  • Impairments in physical and psychosocial function
  • Attitudes and beliefs/knowledge
  • Effectiveness of past pain-relieving treatments
  • Satisfaction with current pain treatment/concerns

Comprehensive pain assessmentObjective data
  • Careful exam of site, referral sites, common pain
  • Observation of physical function
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Mood
  • Limited role for imaging
  • May be useful
  • Often will not change management

Special situations Mild to moderate cognitive
  • Direct query
  • Surrogate report only if patient cannot reliably
  • Use terms synonymous with pain (hurt sore)
  • Ensure understanding of tool use
  • Give time to grasp task and respond and
  • Ask about present pain
  • Ask about and observe verbal and nonverbal
    pain-related behaviors and changes in usual
  • Use standard pain scale, if possible
  • 0-10 Numeric Rating Scale
  • Verbal Descriptor/Pain Thermometer
  • Faces Pain Scale

Numeric Rating Scale

Verbal Descriptor Scales
  • Verbal Descriptor Scale (VDS)
  • ___ Most Intense Pain Imaginable
  • ___ Very Severe Pain
  • ___ Severe Pain
  • ___ Moderate Pain
  • ___ Mild Pain
  • ___ Slight Pain
  • ___ No Pain
  • (Herr et al., 1998)
  • Present Pain Inventory (PPI)
  • 0 No pain
  • 1 Mild
  • 2 Discomforting
  • 3 Distressing
  • 4 Horrible
  • 5 Excruciating
  • (Melzack 1999)

Pain Thermometer
(Herr and Mobily, 1993)
Advantages of verbal descriptor scales
  • Data suggest that patients may be more likely to
    be able complete verbal descriptor scales
    (Ferrell 1995Closs 2004)
  • May be less sensitive to cognitive
    impairment/visual impairment
  • But, no one size fits all scale

Facial Pain Scales
Faces Pain Scale
Bieri D et al. Pain. 199041139-150.
Principles of assessment mild/moderate cognitive
  • The best assessment method is the one that the
    patient can use
  • This is often, but not always, a verbal
    descriptor scale
  • Use the same instrument/scale consistently
  • Use it in the same way

Special situationsModerate to severe cognitive
  • Direct observation or history for evidence of
    pain-related behaviors (during movement, not just
    at rest)
  • Facial expressions of pain (grimacing)
  • Less specific slight frown, rapid blinking,
    sad/frightened face, any distorted expression
  • Vocalizations (crying, moaning, groaning)
  • Less specific grunting, chanting, calling out,
    noisy breathing, asking for help
  • Body movements (guarding)
  • Less specific rigidity, tense posture,
    fidgeting, increased pacing, rocking, restricted
    movement, gait/mobility changes such as limping,
    resistance to moving

Moderate to severe cognitive impairment
  • Unusual behavior should trigger assessment of
    pain as a potential cause
  • Caveat Some patients exhibit little or no
    pain-related behaviors associated with severe
  • Always consider whether basic comfort needs are
    being met
  • Pre-test probability Evidence of pathology that
    may be causative (e.g. infection, constipation,
  • Attempt an analgesic trial
  • If in doubt, analgesic trial may be diagnostic
  • Acetaminophen 500mg TID, (titrate up to 3-4G/day)

Principles of assessment moderate/severe
cognitive impairment
  • No single optimal method (no gold standard)
  • Assessment requires several sources of
    information (observations of several providers,
  • Many pain-related behaviors are non-specific
  • If no known cause of pain, trial of acetaminophen
    can be useful
  • If reason for pain, empirical treatment is

Pain management
Principles of pain management
  • Defining goals of care
  • Defining endpoints of pain management
  • Opioids-the mainstay of pain management near the
    end of life
  • Use of opioids
  • Management of side effects
  • Beyond pain management the role of hospice in
    the nursing home

Individualized care planningDefining goals of
  • Highly variable goals for care
  • Comfort
  • Function
  • Survival
  • Highly variable preferences about specific
    management choices
  • Site of care
  • Treatment preferences (e.g. DNR, transfer to
  • Site of death
  • Optimal balance of pain, sedation, and other
    medication side effects

Treating pain in a resident with these goals.
  • Cure of disease
  • Maintenance or improvement in function
  • Prolongation of life

Or treating pain in a resident with these goals.
  • Relief of suffering
  • Quality of life
  • Staying in control
  • A good death
  • Support for families and loved ones

The importance of defining goals of care
  • Cure of disease
  • Maintenance or improvement in function
  • Prolongation of life
  • Relief of suffering
  • Quality of life
  • Staying in control
  • A good death
  • Support for families and loved ones

Individualized care planning2 examples
  • Mr. Palmers daughter accepts that there are no
    further treatment options available to extend
    life. She says it is most important for her
    father to avoid pain or discomfort.
  • Aggressive pain management
  • Family support
  • Hospice
  • Mr. Palmers daughter says that he would want any
    treatment that might improve his survival and
    maintain the function he has left. She says he
    wants aggressive treatment even if it results in
  • Surgical intervention
  • Aggressive physical therapy

Curative / Life-prolonging Therapy
Course of illness?
Relieve Suffering (Palliative Care and hospice)
Challenges of defining goals of care accurately
  • Interpreting resident statements
  • Multiple disciplinesmultiple interpretations
  • (Importance of clear documentation)
  • Conflicting resident/family goals
  • Uncertainty about resident decision-making
  • Changes in goals over time (resident and family)
  • Inconsistent preferences or goals (e.g. extending
    life but no transfer to acute care)

Defining goals of care principles
  • Broad categories are most useful (survival,
    function, comfort, others that are
  • Goals rather than treatment preferences (e.g.
    resuscitation status)
  • Useful guides (not mutually exclusive)
  • Prolonging survival
  • Preserving function/independence
  • Maximizing comfort

Case Goals for care
  • Mr. Palmers daughter accepts that there are no
    further treatment options available to extend
    life. She says it is most important for her
    father to avoid pain or discomfort.
  • This plan is communicated to other family members
    and staff, and is clearly documented in the
    medical record

Defining endpoints of pain management
  • The optimal plan of pain management is one that
  • Achieves an acceptable (to the patient) level of
    pain relief
  • Preserves an acceptable level of alertness and
  • Offers an acceptable side effect profile

Defining endpoints of pain management
  • Usually not no pain
  • Depends on
  • Goals
  • Treatment preferences
  • Tolerance for side effects

A note about assessing satisfaction
  • Advantages
  • Simple, easy to assess
  • Easy to interpret
  • Often encouraged by facility leadership
  • Disadvantages
  • Ceiling effect
  • Poor association with pain control
  • Confounded by other factors (Ward 1996, Desbiens
    1996, Casarett 2002, Gordon 1996)
  • Side effects
  • prn dosing/control
  • Ethnicity
  • Depression

Pain management near the end of life focus on
Multiple strategies for the management of pain
near the end of life
  • Heat/cold
  • TENS units
  • Counseling
  • Spiritual support
  • NSAIDs/Acetaminophen
  • Agents for neuropathic pain (e.g. tricyclic
    antidepressants, gabapentin)
  • Opioids

Key principles of management
  • Opioids are mainstay of management
  • Use of multiple pharmacological agents is often
    needed to provide optimal management
  • NSAIDs
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Corticosteroids
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Traditional rules discouraging polypharmacy dont
    apply in this setting importance of
    individualized management.

Why focus on opioids?
  • Highly effective
  • Underutilized
  • Poorly understood by providers and public
  • Common misconceptions

Pain management near the end of life the role of
  • The mainstay of effective pain management near
    the end of life
  • Appropriate for residents with moderate or severe
  • 4/10 or greater, or
  • Conditions that are associated with
    moderate-severe pain (when resident is too
    cognitively impaired to permit an accurate
    assessment of severity)

Addiction and other concerns about opioids
  • Addiction a syndrome of physical and
    psychological dependence
  • Very rare in opioid treatment near the end of
  • Estimates of risk are ltlt1
  • Except in very unusual circumstances (e.g.
    history of drug dependence), concerns about
    addiction are not appropriate in the setting of
    pain management near the end of life

Increases in opioid dose often attributed
(incorrectly) to addiction
  • Tolerance Gradual decrease in sensitivity to
    opioid effects (pain relief and side effects)
  • Results in dose creep
  • Disease progression
  • Pseudo addiction Increases in medication
    requests (particularly prn opioids) out of
    proportion to pain and/or medication hoarding, in
    the setting of significant discomfort
  • Often labeled as addiction/diversion
  • Much more likely to be due to fear of pain/slow
    nursing response to requests for prn meds/desire
    for more control over pain management
  • Managed by more aggressive pain management not by
    reducing/controlling opioids

Using opioids strategies for administration
  • Non-invasive (oral//PEG tube/transdermal)
    administration is preferred
  • Sustained release preferred for persistent pain
  • Virtually all patients receiving sustained
    release opioids should have prn opioid available
    for breakthrough pain (typically 10 of the 24
    SR dose)

Strategies for administration
  • Begin with immediate release preparation
  • Scheduled (cognitively impaired/severe pain)
  • prn
  • Can increase every 6-8 hours (faster if using
    IV/SC administration)
  • Titrate up in reasonable (proportional) steps
    (think in terms of 20-50 increases)
  • Switch to a long-acting preparation when pain
    control is adequate but continue access to prn
  • If continued titration is needed, use prn doses
    to estimate additional opioid requirements

Which opioid? Basic considerations
  • Morphine Inexpensive, widely available, and can
    be administered by multiple routes and schedules
  • Hydromorphone More potent, but no SR and limited
    routes of administration. Advantages in renal
  • Oxycodone SR available, also concentrated PO,
    but no IV. Possibly decreased risk of delirium
    in older patients.
  • Methadone inexpensive, available IV and PO.
    T1/2 is longer than duration of effect.
  • Fentanyl patch Convenient, conversion difficult,
    poor choice when rapid titration is needed.

Which opioid?
  • Overall, no evidence of one agents superiority
    with respect to
  • Effectiveness
  • Side effects
  • Choice based on
  • Past experience
  • Clinicians comfort/experience with an agent
  • Specific features of a residents case (e.g. need
    for rapid titration)

Choosing an opioid in the setting of hepatic
  • Opioid metabolism
  • Hepatic metabolism/conjugation
  • Renal excretion
  • Less desirable
  • Codeine (Decreased conversion to morphine and
    decreased efficacy /- increased side effects)
  • Methadone (decreased Phase I metabolism)
  • Liver
  • Gut metabolism and elimination (p-glycoprotein)
    (variable bioavailability in hepatic failure)
  • Other (preferable) agents only have increased
  • Oxycodone (decreased Phase I metabolism)
  • Morphine (decreased Phase II conjugation)
  • Hydromorphone (decreased Phase II conjugation)
  • Fentanyl (decreased Phase I metabolism)

Choosing an opioid in the setting of renal failure
  • Minor concern avoid agents with significant
    renal clearance
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl (Patch/infusion)
  • Methadone (gt60 mg/day)
  • More important
  • Avoid agents with active metabolites that are
    renally cleared
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Meperidine (never appropriate)
  • Oxycodone(?) Noroxycodone and oxymorphone
  • Andselect agents with inactive metabolites
  • Fentanyl (norfentanyl)
  • No evidence of increased neuroexcitatory side
  • Hydromorphone (hydromorphone-3 glucuronide?)
  • Methadone

Summary renal and hepatic failure
  • Theoretical reasons to select certain agents
  • Although some agents are (theoretically)
    preferable in certain settings, no right or
    wrong choice
  • Rules of thumb
  • If its not broke, dont fix it (What appears to
    work for a particular patient is a right
  • Dose escalation should be more conservative in
    renal/hepatic failure
  • Virtually any agent can be used effectively by
    starting low and going slow
  • When renal/hepatic failure is progressive, be
    prepared to reduce the opioid dose

Choosing an opioid when PO intake is limited
  • IV/SC route (morphine, hydromorphone, methadone)
  • Transdermal (fentanyl)
  • Poor choice for rapid titration
  • Convincing evidence of ambient heat effect
    (Ashburn, 2002)
  • Not optimal when limited sc adipose tissue
  • Rectal administration
  • Suppositories, liquid, or SR formulation (short
  • Bioavailability is probably 90-100 of oral route
  • First pass metabolism depends on site of
  • Microcapsule formulations of morphine (Kadian,
  • Pudding/applesauce
  • PEG tube
  • Liquid formulations of methadone (PEG tube)

Limited PO intake SC administration of opioids
  • For most systems, SC morphine limit is 30 mg/hour
  • For higher dose requirements hydromorphone is a
    good alternative (potent, can be concentrated)
  • No need for hyaluronidase
  • Butterfly needle/change q 5-7 days or with
  • D5W preferred diluent

Case pain management
  • Mr. Palmer received IV morphine in the ER that
    was titrated up to 5 mg/hour at the time of his
  • This dose was maintained on transfer
  • (His nurse asked Mr. Palmers physician for a
    verbal order for a laxative to prevent
    opioid-induced constipation. He was started on
    senna and colace BID.)

Opioid-related side effects
  • Side effects
  • Sedation
  • Nausea/emesis
  • Delirium/confusion/agitation
  • (Constipation)
  • Myoclonus

Opioid-induced side effects Overview of options
  • Opioid rotation
  • Decrease dose
  • Add symptomatic therapy
  • Change route

Opioid-related side effects Sedation
  • After 4 hours in the ER, Mr. Palmers pain is
    6/10, and by 8 hours (after transfer) its a 3.
    He is resting comfortably, but is arousable.
  • 6 hours later, his nurse notes that Mr. Palmer is
    not arousable, and will not respond to voice.

Opioid-induced sedation background
  • Prevalence up to 60 of patients, highest in
    initial days of therapy/changes in dose or route
  • Differential diagnosis (extensive workup is often
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Delayed effects of opioid
  • Other
  • Internal bleeding/hypotension
  • Hepatic encephalopathy
  • Pulmonary embolus
  • Sepsis

The therapeutic window
Pain control
Time ? ? ? ? ? ?
The therapeutic window
Pain control
Time ? ? ? ? ? ?
Opioid-induced sedation (acute) management
  • General strategies
  • Assess respiratory status/airway
  • Reassure family/staff
  • Assess monitoring/nursing capacity
  • Specific strategies
  • Decrease dose
  • Wait
  • Avoid naloxone (but bedside availability, 0.4 mg
    with 10 ml water, can offer psychological value)

Opioid-induced sedation (subacute) management
  • Choice of route? (No good data to support
    independent route effect)
  • Opioid rotation. Limited data (Most retrospective
  • Methylphenidate
  • Poor database of studies enrolling carefully
    selected patients (Wilwerding et al 1995 Bruera
  • Evidence of some specific effectiveness but more
    global improvement in well-being

Sedation algorithm
  • Acute, no respiratory depression?
  • If titrating up, change to maintenance dose,
  • If already at maintenance dose, continue, wait gt6
  • At steady state
  • Reduced sleep deficit
  • Family/staff reassurance
  • Still sedated, consider decreased dose
  • Subacute?
  • Identify temporal relationships and opioid/pain
  • Assess nocturnal sleep, consider hypnotic
  • Assess pain control
  • Inadequate?opioid rotation
  • Adequate?methylphenidate, 2.5 mg BID (AM and
    noon)?10 mg and 5 mg

Sedation Outcome
  • Mr. Palmers opioids were not increased further
    and he slept for 7 hours without breakthrough
  • On awaking, his pain was well-controlled but
    required frequent breakthrough doses. Those
    doses were incorporated into his IV infusion over
    the next 24 hours and the infusion rate was
    increased with no further sedation.

Opioid-related side effects Nausea
  • As you are titrating morphine gradually against
    pain, Mr. Palmer develops severe nausea with
    repeated vomiting.
  • There is no associated abdominal pain,
    constipation, or melena. Bowel sounds are
    somewhat diminished but there is no evidence of

Opioid-induced nausea background
  • Occurs in up to 1/3 of patients
  • Usually within first week of therapy
  • Typically dose-independent
  • Mechanisms of opioid-induced nausea
  • Chemoreceptors in CNS
  • Impaired GI motility
  • Vestibular stimulation
  • Conditioning/anticipatory nausea
  • Importance of ruling out related causes
  • Disease-specific symptoms
  • Constipation or bowel obstruction
  • Opioid-induced vertigo (lt5)

Opioid-induced nausea management
  • Limited data, not helpful to extrapolate from
    other common nausea syndromes (e.g. chemotherapy)
  • Dose reduction unlikely to be effective
  • Interventions
  • Switch route (oral?SC) limited data (McDonald
    1991 Drexel 1989)
  • Opioid rotation better data (de Stoutz 1995)
  • Symptomatic treatment

Symptomatic treatment options
  • Haloperidol, prochorperazine (Dopamine antagonism
    in CTZ Haloperidol has stronger dopamine
  • Metoclopramide (Peripheral pro-motility effects,
    anti-dopamine effects at higher doses, e.g. gt10
    mg q 6 hours)
  • Scopolamine patch (purely anticholinergic
  • Also
  • Ondansetron (Sussman 1999)
  • Lorazepam
  • Benadryl
  • Dexamethasone (Wang 1999)
  • Decreased BBB permeability?
  • GABA depletion and inhibition of the CTZ?

Nausea algorithm
  • Early, aggressive treatment with metoclopramide
  • In outpatients prescription for 8 doses with
    opioid prescription
  • Inpatients Prophylactic or prn order
  • Effective, no emesis?continue and taper
  • Ineffective?continue and add haloperidol
  • Effective?continue
  • Taper haloperidol
  • Then taper metoclopramide
  • Ineffective?continue
  • Rotate opioids
  • Consider switch in route

Outcome Nausea
  • Metoclopramide prn was not effective and was
    increased to a scheduled dose with some relief.
  • Simultaneous treatment with metoclopramide (10 mg
    QID) and haloperidol (0.5 mg/6 hours) was
    completely effective. Haloperidol was
    discontinued after 36 hours and metoclopramide
    was discontinued after 3 days with no recurrence
    of nausea.

Opioid-related side effects opioid-induced
  • Mr. Palmers pain was well-controlled at a new
    steady dose of morphine, but he becomes agitated
    later that night. He is yelling, trying to pull
    himself out of bed, and seems to be experiencing
    visual hallucinations.

Opioid-induced delirium background
  • Long differential diagnosis list electrolyte
    abnormalities, physiological causes, terminal
  • Mechanisms of true opioid-induced delirium
  • Kappa, delta receptors
  • Metabolites of parent drug
  • Non-specific/pathway effects (e.g. diminished
    arousal, decreased orientation, altered
    sleep-wake cycle)

Opioid-induced delirium management
  • Very weak evidence base for opioid-induced
    delirium (only extrapolated studies)
  • Non-pharmacological interventions are promising
    (also extrapolated)(Inouye 1999)
  • Interventions
  • Reduce opioid dose(?)
  • Opioid rotation best data (de Stoutz 1995)
  • Donepezil(?)
  • Second generation antipsychotics Strong
    theoretical rationale, anecdotal data, data
    extrapolated from other settings.

Delirium algorithm
  • Inadequate pain management
  • Distressing/agitated delirium? opioid rotation
    symptomatic therapy (low dose haloperidol,
    olanzapine, resperidone)
  • Not distressing/ quiet delirium? opioid
    rotation, followed by symptomatic therapy if
    rotation not effective
  • Adequate pain management
  • Add symptomatic therapy, consider opioid rotation
    if not effective

Balancing pain management and side effects
  • Confusion is an expected side effect of opioid
  • However, inadequate treatment of pain can produce
    syndromes of confusion, including delirium
    (Morrison 2003)
  • Therefore, confusion/delirium in the setting of
    opioid management
  • Should not be considered as an adverse event
  • Should not dissuade use of opioids
  • Should not prompt discontinuation
  • Should be managed carefully

Delirium Outcome
  • Mr. Palmers agitation responded well to 0.5 mg
    haloperidol PO every 4-6 hours, with higher doses
    at bedtime.
  • Additional interventions included
  • Move to private room
  • Designated CNA (continuity)
  • Pictures of family
  • Promote normalized sleep-wake cycle through
    interaction during the day

Opioid-induced side effects general principles
of management
  • Assess pain management
  • Inadequate pain management?Opioid rotation
  • Adequate pain management? Consider effectiveness
    of available symptomatic therapy
  • Reasonable data Add symptomatic therapy
  • Weak data consider dose reduction/opioid
  • NOTE Effective treatment of side effects often
    requires additional medications
  • All?Consider a change of route

Beyond pain the total care of residents and
families near the end of life
  • Mr. Palmers pain and side effects are adequately
    managed on a stable medication regimen. However,
    his interdisciplinary team identifies several
    additional problems, including
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Rapid breathing that they are concerned might be
    due to shortness of breath
  • Frequent crying spells in one staff member who
    had been very close to Mr. Palmer for the last 5
  • The daughters apparently depressed mood and
    expressions of guilt about letting my father die

Beyond pain management
  • Pain is only one aspect of end of life care
  • Residents with pain usually have other physical
  • Psychological symptoms are also common
  • Grief and bereavement needs are common among
    family, staff, and other residents
  • After a residents death
  • Before the residents death (anticipatory grief)

Pain management in the nursing home the role of
  • Program of care designed to provide comprehensive
    care to patients near the end of life and their
  • Eligibility requires patients have a prognosis of
    6 months or less and that they forgo curative
  • Over 3100 hospice organizations serve almost
    900,000 patients annually
  • The Hospice team
  • Hospice physicians
  • Nurses
  • Home health aides
  • Social workers
  • Clergy or other counselors
  • Trained volunteers
  • Other disciplines, if needed.
  • Medications related to hospice DX
  • Bereavement follow up and counseling as needed
    for 1 year

A role for hospice in nursing homes
  • Strong evidence supporting the value of hospice
    in nursing homes (Miller 2001, Casarett 2001,
    Miller 2002, Miller 2001b, Baer 200, Teno 2004)
  • More services
  • Better pain management
  • Decreased restraint use
  • Decreased hospitalization
  • Better family satisfaction

A role for hospice in nursing homes
  • But nursing home residents are underrepresented
    in hospice
  • Payment barriers
  • Barriers created by institutional culture
  • Lengths of stay are very short (median26 days)
  • 1/3 enroll in last week
  • 10 enroll in last day
  • Need for greater hospice access in nursing homes
  • Access for more residents
  • Access earlier in the course of illness.

The role of hospice in the nursing home
  • Mr. Palmers family enrolled him in hospice,
    using a community hospice agency that came to the
    nursing home.
  • Initial interventions included
  • Adjustments to pain medication dosing schedule to
    achieve more even control
  • Mouth swabs
  • Oxygen and room fan to alleviate sensation of
  • Counseling for both staff and daughter
  • Mr. Palmer died 2 weeks later in the nursing
    home, without apparent discomfort.