The number of patients receiving hospice care is growing steadily. According to National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) around 1.6 to 1.7 million Americans utilized hospice services in 2014. That’s an increase of 20 percent in just four years. Pharmacists, who already play a vital role in the health care of patients, maintain that role during a patient’s final days.“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) state that a hospice patient’s medications must be reviewed by a person with specialized education and training in drug management.

Hospice providers rely on pharmacists as the medication experts to know about drug management, including evaluating drug effectiveness, drug side-effects, drug interactions, drug duplications, and lab monitoring.

Pharmacists give recommendations on which medications might be appropriate to stop as the patient enters hospice, or which ones may need to be tapered down.We also recommend medications to treat symptoms that the patient has while they’re receiving hospice care. We recommend specific drugs to make them feel more beneficial and comfortable.

A prescription from a licensed practitioner is required for compounded medications

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