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‘Just in case’ medicines at end of life: what nurses need to know

Anticipatory medicines can cause distress as well as bring reassurance and relief – so a study has useful pointers for how nurses can optimise their use

Anticipatory medicines can cause distress as well as bring reassurance and relief – so a study has useful pointers for how nurses can optimise their use

The complexities of making available anticipatory medications for people nearing the end of life at home are highlighted in our new research. The findings have many takeaway messages for nurses caring for people in their last days.

Anticipatory medication packs contain injectable medicines including morphine and midazolam. These are often referred to by healthcare professionals as ‘just in case’ medications and are prescribed ahead of need, in case symptoms such as pain, nausea and breathlessness develop in the final days of life.

Other research found these are in place for

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