My mother-in-law is under Hospice care and her husband is denying her pain medication!

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 10, 2016
Admant2867 asked...

My mother-in-law is under Hospice care at the moment, with no more than a few days left & her husband is denying her the pain meds that have been prescribed to her. What should I do?

Expert Answers

Audrey Wuerl, RN, BSN, PHN, is education coordinator for Hospice of San Joaquin in California. She is also a geriatric trainer for the End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC), which promotes education in geriatric nursing and end-of-life care.

I'm sorry to hear your mother-in-law could be facing a painful life closure. The one thing you could do at this point is contact her case manager. This is the hospice registered nurse who oversees her physical care and well being.

Can you speak with your father-in-law about why he is not giving her any medication? Often people fear narcotics and worry their loved one may become addicted to the drug. When we give pain medication in hospice care it is because of the underlying disease process and the pain associated with it. Often, patients are used to receiving these narcotics, and while they may need more over time as the body becomes tolerant, this does not cause addition.

It would be helpful for the case manager to discuss concerns your father-in-law has regarding administration of the medications. This way, he will feel more comfortable about managing her pain, and possibly be able to discuss other issues he may have regarding her dying process.