Understanding Morphine Use in Hospice Care

Understanding Morphine Use in Hospice Care - Honor Hospice

In hospice care, the focus is on providing comfort, dignity, and quality of life for patients with terminal illnesses. Morphine is an essential medication used to manage pain and improve the overall well-being of patients during this sensitive time. Let’s explore the benefits of morphine use and address concerns you may have.

Benefits of Morphine in Hospice Care:

  1. Pain Relief: Morphine is a powerful pain reliever that helps manage pain associated with serious illnesses. By alleviating pain, patients can experience increased comfort and improved quality of life. Learn more about mangaging pain here→.
  2. Enhanced Breathing: For patients with respiratory distress, morphine can ease breathing difficulties and provide a sense of calm.
  3. Reduced Anxiety: Morphine can help alleviate anxiety and restlessness, contributing to a more peaceful and tranquil state for patients.
  4. Improved Quality of Life: By managing pain and symptoms, morphine allows patients to engage more fully with loved ones and enjoy meaningful moments.


Addressing Concerns:

Myth: Morphine will hasten death.

Fact: When prescribed and administered properly, morphine is used to provide comfort and does not directly hasten death. Hospice care aims to improve the patient’s quality of life. A patient’s condition leads to a declien in health, regardless of whether morphine is used.The American Cancer Society has also highlighted that patients on higher doses of morphine have had better survival rates. (Read the article here→)

Myth: Morphine leads to addiction.

Fact: In the context of hospice care, the focus is on managing pain and discomfort, not on addiction. It is incredible rare for patients with terminal illness with genuine need for morphine to become addicted. Patients receive carefully monitored doses to ensure their comfort without the risk of addiction. Addiction is a cycle of craving a medication, whereas in hospice morphine may be a necessity for adequate symptom relief to allow each moment to be cherished with family and friends. Over time, patients may build a tolerance, meaning they may need to increase the dose of the medication to acheive the same effect, this is a normal progression that can occur.

Myth: Morphine will make the patient unconscious.

Fact: Morphine is used to manage symptoms while allowing patients to remain conscious and connected with their loved ones. By reducing pain to a manageable level, morphine can help patients regain function in essential activities including eating, sleeping, and remaining alert and engaged with families. Pain and breathlessness can be physically demanding for patients. Use of morphine to manage these symptoms can help conserve strength and energy.



Read about other commonly used medications in hospice care here→



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