Managing Pain in Hospice Care: Providing Comfort and Quality of Life

One of the primary objectives of hospice care is to manage pain effectively. At The Elizabeth Hospice, we are committed to ensuring that our patients remain as comfortable as possible, addressing their symptoms to enhance their quality of life during this difficult time.

Identifying pain in hospice patients is essential, as it often manifests in subtle ways. Signs such as increased breathing rate, restlessness, withdrawal, or changes in behavior can indicate discomfort. Through careful observation and communication with our patients, we can assess their pain levels accurately.

The initial step in pain management is conducting a thorough pain assessment. Our dedicated hospice nurses utilize a pain scale from 0 to 10, where 0 represents minimal pain, and 10 signifies the most severe pain imaginable. This assessment guides our hospice physicians in collaboration with primary care providers to determine the most suitable treatment plan for each individual.

It is important to address common misconceptions surrounding pain management in hospice care. One key fear is that using prescribed pain medications, particularly opioids, may lead to addiction. Under proper supervision, taking medication as prescribed poses minimal risk of addiction. Additionally, concerns about medication dosage adjustments and physical dependence are addressed through careful monitoring and gradual adjustments by our experienced team.

Furthermore, it’s essential to dispel the myth that pain medication accelerates the dying process. Opioids, like morphine, when administered properly for symptom control, do not hasten death. We prioritize our patients’ comfort and well-being, ensuring they receive the necessary relief without undue suffering.

Beyond medication, The Elizabeth Hospice offers a range of complementary therapies to enhance pain management and overall comfort. These therapies include:

Massage Therapy. Our trained massage therapists use gentle, therapeutic touch to promote relaxation and alleviate physical discomfort.

Reiki. Skilled Reiki practitioners use this Japanese healing art to increase feelings of peace and security by balancing the flow of energy around the body.

Aromatherapy. Fragrant oils from plants are used to induce a sense of calm and well-being, addressing symptoms such as restlessness, anxiety and nausea.

Pet Therapy. Certified therapy dogs and cats visit patients, offering companionship and emotional support, which can help alleviate pain and distress.

Music Experience. Engaging in music-related activities can evoke positive emotions and memories, serving as a distraction from pain and promoting emotional well-being.

At The Elizabeth Hospice, we understand the challenges families face during end-of-life care. That’s why we offer support, guidance and compassion every step of the way. If you or your loved one requires assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 800.797.2050 or visit our website at We are here to help.