Press Release

(WASHINGTON) Nov. 11, 2019 – A panel of experts in hospice, palliative care and substance use disorder has issued 15 recommendations to provide guidance to hospice personnel on evidence-informed strategies to prevent medication diversion and misuse. The survey and related work was funded in part by Hospice Foundation of America (HFA).

Led by John G. Cagle, MSW, PhD, and Orrin Ware, MSW, MPH, LMSW of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, the team conducted a national survey of hospice providers exploring issues of medication diversion and risk mitigation efforts. After drafting recommendations, stakeholders, including hospice and palliative care clinicians, provided feedback.

The panel’s final recommendations cover topics such as employee screening, patient and family education, medication disposal, and response to medication diversion or misuse.

“In light of the opioid crisis in the U.S., this is a particularly important set of recommendations for all hospice and palliative care providers and their clinical staffs,” said Amy Tucci, president and CEO of HFA.

“We know in the current environment, many families are concerned  about having opioids and other potentially addictive medications in their homes, and many families need education about these medications. From hospice providers, we know that getting the necessary opioids for those with terminal illness is now difficult in some places. We are hopeful these recommendations will be embraced by the hospice and palliative care community and ultimately improve care for patients as well as the safety of their families and communities,” Tucci said.

Read the full summary of recommendations here.