A palliative approach to care focuses on meeting a person’s and family’s complete needs – physical, psychosocial and spiritual – at all stages of a chronic progressive illness. Care can be provided at any time, not just in the last days of life. There are many options to where palliative and end of life care can be provided, in the home, hospital, long-term care facility or free-standing hospice.
An important part of home-based palliative care is the safe and effective management of equipment, supplies and medication.
Providing palliative care at home brings with it the complexity of managing medications, supplies and equipment. Effective symptom control is dependent upon good medication management and relies on access to appropriate equipment and appropriate drugs at all times. In addition to medical supplies, home-based palliative care may require equipment such as oxygen supplies, hoists, commodes, bath chairs and beds with pressure relief mattresses.
Home care providers must have operational processes to ensure a safe and accessible place for the storage of medicines, supplies and equipment, and maintain effective inventory management. Other operational considerations include addressing security and ethical issues associated with the presence of controlled substances in the home and engaging caregivers to administer medications and monitor equipment during the day and night.