[Factors that enable the patients to live their life till death at home by controlling cancer-pains with continuous subcutaneous injection of opioids-case reports of 3 patients with a terminal cancer].Gan To Kagaku Ryoho. 2001 Dec; 28 Suppl 1:110-3.GT
Recently, it is gradually getting easier to change a life-style of the patients with cancer-pains from the conventional hospitalized way to the home healthcare system, because of the progress in technique of reducing pains and symptoms and because of prevalence of visiting nurse system. Home healthcare system or hospice is aimed at the improvement of the quality of life (QOL) of the patients. We had 3 patients who died at home after home healthcare service and whose cancer-pains were well controlled till their death at home by continuous subcutaneous injections of opioids (painkiller) when these patients could not take oral medications any more. Therefore, in order to determine the factors that enable the patients to live the terminal stage of their life at home until death by controlling their cancer-pain with continuous subcutaneous injections of opioid, we examined 3 patients who died of cancer at home under a good pain control. The subjects of the present study were 3 patients, who initially had oral or rectal medication of opioid for their pain control, eventually switched to subcutaneous injection of opioid and then died at home under a good pain control between April 1998 and December 2000. We collected all the information through nursing diaries, regarding painkiller care, and interaction of the patients, their family members and other people, and discussed the factors which enabled to maintain a good pain control in these patients at home by continuous subcutaneous injection of painkiller (opioid). As a result, the following 7 items were notified as the factors common in these 3 patients. 1) The patients themselves understood the diagnosis of their diseases and symptoms and could openly discuss the issues such as "how the patient and his/her family would like to live his/her life from now on" among family members, and also between family and medical associates. 2). The patients received detailed explanation of continuous subcutaneous injection at the time of admission to the hospital and chose to receive the continuous subcutaneous injection with their own will. 3) The patients had no other painful symptoms except cancer pains or had them well controlled if they had any, and had much stronger desire to live their life at home than above all. The family member agreed with the patients and respected their choice. 4) The family members had enough nursing capability, so they could properly handle medications and medical equipment as well as they could take care of the patients. 5) Both primary care physicians and visiting nurses had enough knowledge of home healthcare service for painkiller, and were able to frequently interact with the patients and their family in order to reduce their pains. 6) Visiting nurses supported the family by 24 hr-system and assisted the family in nursing the patients at home without worry. 7) Pharmacists also participated in the home healthcare system, thus, they could smoothly provide and manage opioids without any trouble.