Palliative care is one of the most draining forms of treatment. It is, however, aimed at improving the quality of life of someone suffering a terminal illness. It is an essential form of care for these patients. There are many ways that a palliative care patient can suffer owing to the disease process. Some ways are psychological stress. Another way is lacking an appetite; this one is perhaps one of the most distressing and life-limiting.
Thankfully, an Indiana-based palliative care center has different ways to restore the appetite of patients suffering from anorexia. These are aimed at strengthening the body’s immunity to fight most of the opportunistic infections associated with terminal conditions and boost a patient’s strength. The following are a few of these appetite restoration methods.
Use of Supplements
Various types of minerals and vitamins have been shown to stimulate appetite in people with a decreased appetite. These work by treating the mineral and vitamin deficiencies which the patient might be suffering from. Zinc deficiency, for instance, alters a person’s perception of taste and hence decreases their appetite since it makes food taste bland. Some common supplements used in palliative acre include fish oil, thiamine, and zinc.
Appetite Stimulating Medication
There are currently different drugs approved by the FDA as appetite stimulants for patients with terminal conditions. The most common ones include dronabinol, megestrol, and oxandrolone. In most cases, doctors will prescribe only one of these medications at a time and discontinue it if it is ineffective.
In addition, most states have now legalized medical marijuana. Medical marijuana has proven to be effective in stimulating the appetite of palliative care patients, as well as alleviating pain and improving mood.
There are various types of herbs which have been shown to have a positive impact on appetite. Some common herbs used for stimulating appetite include cayenne pepper, fennel seeds, cloves, ginger, garlic, ginseng, cardamom, and green tea. Natural remedies should however only be used under the guidance of a medical professional. This is because some of them might interact with the drugs that the palliative care patient is using. Certain herbs may decrease the efficacy of the medication or generate unpleasant side effects.
Encouraging Small but Frequent Meals
Most patients struggling with their appetite will dread having to Ways consume considerable amounts of food within a specific period. For them, small but frequent meals are the ideal solution. Not only does this stimulates their appetite but it also guarantees that they meet their daily required caloric intake. The foods, in this case, should not have strong odors and should be as soft as possible. Moreover, fluid intake is encouraged between meals to avoid constipation, which would further decrease a patient’s appetite.
Caregivers and a patient’s loved ones often find the drastic loss of weight in patients under palliative care distressing. The above professional techniques are designed to maintain a healthy weight in patients to enable them to cope with the medications they are receiving. Moreover, the calories gained allow them to engage in various exercises designed to avert the wasting of their muscles and maintain an active lifestyle.