Non-Pharmacological Symptom Management: A Palliative Social Worker’s Intervention
By Jennifer Hopping-Winn, MSW, LCSW
Palliative care patients tend to have a high symptom burden. Sometimes, this is characterized as mild and for others it is severe, creating a breeding ground for suffering to occur. Physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses offer patients a variety of medications that can mitigate and relieve symptoms common in serious illness such as pain, anxiety, and shortness of breath, to name a few.
These interventions, however, are sometimes insufficient in addressing the whole of the symptom. Thankfully, medications can be augmented by non-pharmacological symptom management techniques that may be able to produce an even better response.