Symptom Management and Increased Patient Comfort

Increasing comfort so you can focus on what really matter

Symptom management addresses pain and other symptoms of terminal illness in order to provide increased comfort. Treatment is focused on relieving discomfort and stress, so that you and your loved ones can make the most of what time is left.

Overview

Symptom management addresses pain and other symptoms of terminal illness in order to provide increased comfort. Treatment is focused on relieving discomfort and stress, so that you and your loved ones can make the most of what time is left.

Palliative care, or symptom-reducing care, is different from medical care intended to cure disease. Palliative care addresses physical, emotional and spiritual concerns that may arise during life-limiting illness.

Hospice/Palliative Care Services

Assistance with daily living

The process of a life-limiting illness may involve challenges with ordinary activities such as bathing and shaving. Hospice aides can assist with some of these personal care tasks, reducing stress and helping you and your family share more time together.

Emotional support

The end of life process often causes difficult emotional responses. There may be unresolved feelings about life or relationships, or difficulty coming to terms with approaching death. Social workers provide comfort and emotional support to help you and your loved one overcome these problems.

Medical care for acute conditions

Sometimes a life-limiting illness leads to the development of an acute condition such as stroke or heart attack. Treatment can be provided so that it does not interfere with the primary end-of-life process. If your loved one has a do-not-resuscitate order (an order not to use extraordinary means to prolong life), you can help decide the best course of action.

Pain relief

Terminal illnesses such as cancer may cause severe and worsening pain. In some cases, you or your loved one may need pain medicine in doses outside the normal range. A wide variety of medications are available, including familiar pain relievers (such as aspirin or acetaminophen), steroids to reduce pain caused by inflammation and opioid pain medicines (such as oxycodone and morphine).

Relief of other symptoms

Physical discomforts, such as nausea, difficulty breathing and constipation, may result from the process of life-limiting illness or from inactivity and side effects of pain medicines. Medicine to relieve these symptoms can make you or your loved one more comfortable and able to enjoy time family. In addition, many Hospice patients experience some depression, and antidepressants may help.

Spiritual support

As the end of life nears, some people experience fear or spiritual uncertainty. Spiritual support and guidance can help. You may also benefit from specific devotions and rituals, such as Catholic sacraments or readings from sacred books.

What To Expect

Palliative care, or symptom-reducing care, is different from medical care intended to cure disease. Palliative care addresses physical, emotional and spiritual concerns that may arise during life-limiting illness.

Hospice/Palliative Care Services

Assistance with daily living

The process of a life-limiting illness may involve challenges with ordinary activities such as bathing and shaving. Hospice aides can assist with some of these personal care tasks, reducing stress and helping you and your family share more time together.

Emotional support

The end of life process often causes difficult emotional responses. There may be unresolved feelings about life or relationships, or difficulty coming to terms with approaching death. Social workers provide comfort and emotional support to help you and your loved one overcome these problems.

Medical care for acute conditions

Sometimes a life-limiting illness leads to the development of an acute condition such as stroke or heart attack. Treatment can be provided so that it does not interfere with the primary end-of-life process. If your loved one has a do-not-resuscitate order (an order not to use extraordinary means to prolong life), you can help decide the best course of action.

Pain relief

Terminal illnesses such as cancer may cause severe and worsening pain. In some cases, you or your loved one may need pain medicine in doses outside the normal range. A wide variety of medications are available, including familiar pain relievers (such as aspirin or acetaminophen), steroids to reduce pain caused by inflammation and opioid pain medicines (such as oxycodone and morphine).

Relief of other symptoms

Physical discomforts, such as nausea, difficulty breathing and constipation, may result from the process of life-limiting illness or from inactivity and side effects of pain medicines. Medicine to relieve these symptoms can make you or your loved one more comfortable and able to enjoy time family. In addition, many Hospice patients experience some depression, and antidepressants may help.

Spiritual support

As the end of life nears, some people experience fear or spiritual uncertainty. Spiritual support and guidance can help. You may also benefit from specific devotions and rituals, such as Catholic sacraments or readings from sacred books.

MedlinePlus

The National Institutes of Health provides a brief overview of hospice care and extensive links to additional resources.

National Cancer Institute

This website answers frequently asked questions about hospice care as it applies to cancer patients and links to other end-of-life resources and services.

Resources

MedlinePlus

The National Institutes of Health provides a brief overview of hospice care and extensive links to additional resources.

National Cancer Institute

This website answers frequently asked questions about hospice care as it applies to cancer patients and links to other end-of-life resources and services.

Patient Stories for Symptom Management and Increased Patient Comfort