Pharmacological management of symptoms for adults in the last days of life
All patients at the end of life are entitled to treatment to optimise their comfort and dignity. The treating team responsible for the care of a dying patient works together with the patient and their nominated carers/family members to ensure appropriate, timely and adequate treatment to prevent and relieve distress. This will often include prescribing medications for symptom management.
There are several common symptoms that may cause distress in dying patients. Ordering medications ahead of time, 'anticipatory prescribing', is required so that prompt management of these symptoms can occur.
- response to a patient suffering from distressing symptoms, and/or
- anticipation of distressing symptoms developing.
Opioid dose conversions
Switch between opioid formulations
eviQ: Cancer Treatments Online
Opioid conversion calculator - available online only
Access is open and registration is free
Therapeutic Guidelines: Palliative Care
Approximate potencies of various opioids relative to 10mg parenteral morphine - table 1.8
Access available through SALUS
The Medication cessation for adults in the last days of life fact sheet (PDF 154KB) assists clinicians when considering which medications may be discontinued at the end of life and the potential withdrawal effects.
Decision Assist is a web-based resource funded by the Australian Government to enhance the provision of palliative care and advance care planning. Resources available include: