Why Hospice Centers Will Increasingly Opt for In-House Compounding in 2015
One of the most remarkable developments in recent years has been the move toward and acceptance of hospice centers for end-of-life treatment. We seem to now understand that it isn’t good enough to spend one’s last days in a noisy and chaotic hospital environment, where the important business of saving lives takes precedence over the way in which they end. Hospice centers give individuals the chance to pass on their own terms, surrounded by family and friends, in an environment that is focused on peace and comfort.
The last thing anyone wants in such an environment is running out of the medications needed to ensure this comfort. Dealing with paperwork and the banality of the everyday runs counter to the mission of a hospice, which is why many hospice centers search for unique ways to make sure that they can continually offer the level of compassionate care they promise.
Although many hospices still outsource their pharmaceutical needs or turn to hospitals for them, more and more hospices are choosing to open their own compounding centers on-site. This offers a host of unique benefits for hospice patients.
The presence of an in-house compounding room lowers the cost of custom medications for patients. This is largely due to the elimination of the costs of the intermediary business, and because the center will be purchasing stock in larger amounts, at lower price points. While hospice centers will have an initial outlay as they set up a compounding room, overall savings should outweigh expenses fairly quickly.
More effective management of patient needs
End of life symptoms can vary significantly, but they often include pain, anxiety, bed sores, constipation, diarrhea, inability to swallow, nausea, and vomiting. Pain is especially difficult to manage because it must be dealt with around the clock, with an eye towards safety. Commercially available medications typically fall short because each person is different; variations in drug tolerance, body size, and the nature of each illness and its effects, such as organ failure, mean that unique treatments are often needed. Compounding allows treating providers to give patients just what they need, and to deliver it in a form that is tolerable: lozenges, transdermal treatments, and suppositories are all viable options for many medications that may be more easily tolerated by patients having difficulty swallowing or experiencing nausea.
Improved efficiency and faster service
The nature of hospice care demands immediate attention for patients at all hours. Your in-house facility can help you meet even the most complex needs with customized medications at any time right away; this is something that most hospices just cannot provide. Particularly with regard to medications that aren’t simply the run-of-the-mill, commercially available dosages, the ability to provide treatments almost immediately is something that only hospices with in-house compounding rooms can do.
Customized treatment brings more dignity to patients and families
Hospice care is built upon the concept that individuals have the right to die with dignity and without pain. Pharmacy compounding provides respite for hospice patients practically and compassionately by managing symptoms with customized medications, and it is this individualized care that brings more dignity to this difficult process.
In-house quality control
When you bring your compounding facility in-house, quality control is in your hands. This may sound challenging, but it is a golden opportunity. It is not necessary to have a large number of staff members; as we have discussed in the context of chemotherapy, limiting the number of staff who compound drugs is ideal because this small number of pharmacists and technicians will become experts. Intermittent staffing increases the time taken on orders and the potential for errors. In limiting the staff you will also be able to control the sterility of the environment by minimizing the entrances and exits to the compounding area; a telepharmacy system can also help in maintaining the most effective compounding environment. Maintain strict protocols, step-by-step checklists for technicians, and reference charts for stability guidelines for dangerous drugs. Finally, schedule periodic evaluations and training updates.
Enhanced patient satisfaction
Research shows that an increasing numbers of individuals are choosing hospice care over hospitals, and that they go this route because they simply want to be comfortable and live out the remainder of their lives with dignity. However, without effective treatments this simply isn’t possible. It is crucial to get each patient’s pharmaceutical regimen just right to ensure that they receive what they want out of their hospice care. Compounding is the surest way to accurately adjust medications and provide a unique course of treatment to ensure personalized relief. Individualized medication combinations maximize comfort and care because they minimize sedation and other side effects. Your patients want and need to bypass one-size-fits-all care at the time when they are most in need; compounding helps to achieve this. This is the route to complete patient and family satisfaction.
Adding in-house compounding to a hospice facility is a smart choice, and one that makes sense for both your business and your patients. Fortunately as you move forward with this important decision you have the ability to purchase your products and receive information from a reliable source. For more about pharmaceutical compounding and purchasing bulk APIs, please contact Pharmaceutica North America, your trusted compounding resource.