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End-of-life care Continued from page 15A

• Hospice patients can no longer see their doctors: Patients can continue to see any of their previous doctors. Rather than taking anything away, hospice adds a layer of medical support. • Hospice care ends when a patient dies: Because hospice cares for the patient’s caregivers and loved ones as well as the patient, hospice team members continue their support for 13 months after the patient passes away. The hospice team provides grief support for the families and will continue to work with them to address any lingering questions, and to help identify their needs. “The hospice team is comprised of the assigned physician and nurses to provide the direct medical care to the patient, while a chaplain, social worker and bereavement counselor provide additional support and education to families and caregivers,” Norman said. Hospice ideally occurs in a patient’s home, whether that’s a personal residence or assisted living community. It is a Medicare-reimbursed benefit, and most private insurance providers do also cover some hospice costs. “End-of-life care isn’t just about taking pain medications to relieve symptoms until death,” Norman said. “It helps people gain emotional strength and carry on with daily life, while improving the quality of life. The goal is to help patients and their families make every remaining moment as comfortable and enriching as possible.” — BPT

The Rivertowns Enterprise | Friday, October 7, 2016

Are you at risk for an OTC medicine overdose?


f you are one of the millions of Americans suffering from pain and turn to over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines to get relief, you may be at risk of overdose. Taking too much OTC pain medicine can lead to serious side effects, such as stomach bleeding, ulcers, liver damage and even death. The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) surveyed consumers and gastroenterologists to find out more, and discovered that many adults report taking Taking too much OTC pain medicine can more than the recommended dose of an cause stomach bleeding, ulcers, liver damOTC pain medicine. The survey was con- age and even death. ducted by Harris Poll with sponsorship support from McNeil Consumer Health- always read the drug facts label on an OTC pain medicine they haven’t taken becare. To help you get safe pain relief, refer to fore, which can be a costly or even fatal these common myths and facts so you can oversight. Fact: Medicine labels can change perikeep yourself and your family safe from OTC pain medicine overdose complica- odically, as can health conditions and situations. Byron Cryer, MD, chair of the AGA tions. Myth 1: Drug labels are just guidelines. Gut Check: Know Your Medicine camMany consumers believe they know paign and associate dean of the University how to best treat their pain when it comes of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, to reaching for the medicine cabinet, with emphasizes the importance of following 40 percent admitting they perceive the dosing directions. “Read and follow the dosing directions on OTC pain medicines drug facts label — every time — to avoid as just guidelines and saying they know potential overdose complications,” Cryer said. what works for them. Myth 2: Taking more than the recomConversely, American consumers take appropriate safety measures in many as- mended dose is harmless. One in four Americans are willing to pects of their lives. Most people always wear a seat belt when riding in a car, have take more than the recommended dose of smoke detectors in their home and have OTC pain medicines because they believe their symptoms will go away faster. While anti-virus software on their computers. Yet, only 32 percent of people say they patients might exceed the recommended

dose for weeks or even months without complications, it can take just one occurrence to put them in the hospital. Fact: Taking more than the recommended dose will not lead to quicker pain relief. Work with your healthcare professional on the proper dosage and treatment for your individual health situation. Myth 3: Mixing medicines is safe and effective. On average, a gastroenterologist sees 90 overdose cases per year due to OTC pain medicine. Most gastroenterologists (64 percent) report their patients were unaware of the risks of taking more than directed and, when overdose complications arise, the mistake often involves taking two or more medicines with the same active ingredients at a time. Fact: “Mixing medicines is dangerous,” Dr. Cryer said. “Take only one product at a time containing the same kind of active ingredient.” Overuse of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs) can cause stomach bleeding, stomach ulcers and damage to the esophagus and small intestine, while overdosing on acetaminophen can cause liver damage. If you are living with pain, get relief safely. The AGA encourages you to read medicine labels every time you take an OTC pain medicine. If you are still not receiving relief from your pain, talk to a health-care professional. Visit to learn more. — BPT

Rivertowns Enterprise To Your Health! 2016  
Rivertowns Enterprise To Your Health! 2016