Reflection #1: Nora Elmajian, PharmD Candidate 2019
A hospice provides end of life care which starts when curative care no longer works. In recent times, there has been an increase in number of patients using a hospice. This trend is mostly due to more awareness of hospice facilities. Also because patients are seeking more comfort during their last days in life. Candidates for hospice are those entering their last week of life or a prognosis of 6 months or less. A hospice is different than palliative care. Palliative care patients get care at any stage of illness, whereas hospice services can be provided only to terminally ill patients. Health insurance companies pay for palliative care. Medicare covers hospice care. A doctor has to indicate if the patient has only a certain amount of time to live. It covers aspects of care, physical, emotional, psychological. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists help ease suffering and burden by alleviating any fears or anxiety. Depression, constipation, and pain are the most common symptoms seen in patients who are near the end of life. Pharmacists take clinical data and complete medical history. We also look at the therapeutics of the patients drug lists and what is the patient could do without. The goal of healthcare professionals in hospice care is to maximize comfort and quality of life.
Reflection #2: Jessica Che, PharmD Candidate 2019
Dr. Nia Pham came in to talk on March 30, 2016 about hospice care. Hospice care is end of life care; it is when patients are entering the last few weeks or months of their life. In hospice care, the workers want to maximize comfort and quality of life for these patients, physically, spiritually and emotionally. A doctor must indicate that they are an appropriate candidate for hospice care, then they are assigned a program which is a private company which is funded by Medicare. People always think hospice is just cancer, but cancer just covers about 1/3 of the cases of patients who are in hospice care. I think this is an aspect of pharmacy that can often be overlooked, but is extremely important to those who are nearing the end of their life and their loved ones. They are part of interdisciplinary care teams to contribute thoughts to medication regimen/therapy as well as produce comfort medication packs to ease their pain and discomfort. When someone is in the last moments of their life, it is important to make sure they are receiving all the care possible to ease their burden. Dr. Pham said we only get to die once, so it is important to give the patients the best experience possible.