Please enjoy the latest installment of our newsletter, The Pillar for March and April 2015
March-April 2015 Pillar
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Join us for an exciting afternoon of great food and the smooth sounds of J.B. Saxx and the Band on Sunday, March 15th at River Oaks in Lafayette, Louisiana. We will also have a silent auction with some beautiful things to bid on. Tickets are $100 and are limited. Come out and enjoy the sounds of Louisiana Jazz as you support Acadiana’s ONLY non-profit hospice. Contact Martie Beard at 337-232-1234 ext. 3733.
Hospice of Acadiana is gearing up for its inaugural Sporting Clay Shoot entitled Shoot to Make a Difference. Enjoy recreational shotgunning? Hospice of Acadiana will be hosting its first sporting clay shoot of the year at GOL Shooting, LLC in Maurice, Louisiana on February 7, 2015, with registration at 8:00, and two flights at 9:00, and 12:00 p.m. Enjoy the sporting tradition of Louisiana outdoorsmen by attending this fundraiser for Hospice of Acadiana with all monies raised going to Acadiana’s ONLY non-profit hospice. Shoot to Make a Difference.
Hospice of Acadiana gearing up for November 22nd Garage Sale
Love hunting for treasures? November 22, 2014 from 7am- 3pm Hospice of Acadiana will hold its third annual garage sale at the Hospice of Acadiana offices at 2600 Johnston Street. Enjoy the cool air-conditioning as you peruse through rooms and rooms of household goods, furniture and unusual treasures. This one day event has something special for all ages, interests and every holiday!
Donations of furniture will be accepted until November 14th. Sorry no clothing.
For over 31 years Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. has provided outstanding service to the community, not only through direct patient care but also through a number of support programs. Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. is the only non-profit hospice care provider in Acadiana and is committed to its patients as well as the community. If you would like to learn more about Hospice of Acadiana, Inc. you can call 337-232-1234.
Cycle for Hospice of Acadiana
Hospice of Acadiana’s third annual, Cycle for Hospice, bike ride in conjunction with Festivals Acadians will be held on Saturday, October 11 with 25 and 50 mile routes beginning and ending in the Oil Center. For more information, or to register, please visit: www.hospiceacadiana.com or call 337.232.1234. Early registration through October 9 is $35 and $40 after. Pre-registration party will be October 9th at the Corner Bar located at 3103 Johnston Street from 5–7 pm.
Glen Mire, MD
The focus of hospice care is palliative symptom control and patient comfort, not curing disease. When most patients are admitted to hospice, it is usually time to stop certain medications. Our medical team carefully evaluates the functional status of each patient upon admission, and reviews the medicines they are taking. We may decrease dosage or gradually phase out certain medications that no longer benefit the patient. Whether or not we phase out a medication depends on how active and functional the patient is. If they are still alert, socially interactive, and physically active, we usually continue the medication. Hospice does not accelerate the dying process by stopping medications that still benefit the patient.
Blood Pressure, Thyroid and Diabetes Medications Patients who are admitted with high blood pressure, diabetes, or thyroid disease may have their medications gradually reduced. While we do not want uncontrolled blood pressure, diabetes or thyroid disease, which could make the patient feel worse, we don’t want “tight” control of blood sugars or blood pressure either. We must strike the right balance according to the needs of the individual patient. It’s an ongoing evaluation: Whether the benefits of a certain medication outweigh the burdens at that particular time, for that particular patient. We maintain the regimen that best enhances the quality and comfort of life.
A medication that is appropriate for the patient at one time may not still be appropriate a few weeks or months later. It depends on the progression of the disease. For example, as long as patients with diabetes are still eating and drinking, the medication benefit exists. When the patient is no longer eating and drinking normally, medications are reduced to decrease the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). When patients are in the final stages of dying – are barely conscious, not eating or drinking – on their “death bed” – there is rarely any benefit in continuing blood pressure, thyroid or diabetes medication.
Surprisingly, patients often report an improvement in their sense of well-being and vitality when their pill load is reduced, because the good we thought we were doing doesn’t necessarily translate into patients feeling better.
Alzheimer’s Medications do not cure or prevent dementia, but, at best, help slow its progression. When a hospice patient is admitted, we may either reduce or discontinue those medications, if they are no longer of benefit to the patient. In most cases, it is appropriate to stop these medications when patients are admitted into hospice in the end-stages of dementia.
Symptom Control and Therapies Medications to control pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, and other distressing symptoms such as coughing and diarrhea are appropriate to keep patients physically and mentally comfortable. Occupational and physical therapies focused on rehabilitation are usually discontinued, as they no longer benefit patients with end-stage terminal disease. HoA may provide limited physical and/or occupational therapy to train and instruct families to help them learn how to transfer the patient, for example, from chair to bed. The goal is to enable them to care for their loved one comfortably and safely.
The Ongoing Question At HoA, we continually ask: Is this medication providing benefit, or just risking side effects while no longer providing any benefit? If benefits do NOT outweigh the burden, then it’s probably time to either gradually phase out or stop that particular medication.