Hi everybody....some of you may be familiar with my brother's situation from my other thread...he has a rare degenerative disorder called Autonomic Failure and is presently under the care of Hospice in his home. This organization is wonderful and every part of the team that cares for my brother and his family is so wonderful. I just recently returned from staying a week with him and had to return to my own family responsibilities.
Anyway....my question is in regard to the morphine administered. My brother has had pain and his issues lately are that he goes into episodes of apnea that lasts up to 15 minutes with oxygen assisting him....he will appear to be unconscious during these episodes but is able to respond by squeezing my hand, a slight nod or flicker of his eyelids. When he goes into these we push the button to give him more morphine because he does indicate once he comes out of the episode that he is in alot of pain. These episodes can go on for up to a few hours with one gasping breath between and occur every few hours. The morphine has been doubled and he is getting 80mgs/hour and as needed inbetween every 15 minutes. I have noticed that he is much more groggy inbetween his episodes and confused as well. The nurses explained to us that he cannot OD on the morphine and that it will not supress his breathing since they are carefully administering it slowly making adjustments so that his body adjusts to it. I have read that in Hospice the morphine almost progresses the dying process by the way it is administered and am wondering if there is any truth or validity to that. I know that my brother's goal is to be as comfortable as posssible without being too drugged up to interact with his family. But I am beginning to see that he is having a more difficult time doing that.
I just thought that somebody here who is more familiar with Hospice would share their experience with the administration of morphine and exactly what guidelines there are for it to be given to a patient.
Thanks for allowing me to share my concerns.
Love ~ Goody