Story 22 Palliative care drugs

A senior medical student writes….

I’m currently doing an elective with a palliative house call service through [a Toronto hospital].  When patients are nearing their final days and hours, the palliative care doctors used to prescribe a number of injectable drugs for families to have on hand, in case common symptoms like pain, dyspnea, nausea, restlessness, and confusion occurred.  They can’t do that anymore, and have to prescribe on a case-by-case, symptom-by-symptom basis.

I suppose this decreases waste, but it also leaves families with one fewer resource/back-up plan to draw on while their family members are dying at home.   I think knowing the drugs were on hand gave family members comfort.