Ketamine Treatments Can Offer Peace of Mind
There is hope.
Palliative and hospice care professionals, as well as those caring for their loved ones, do an excellent job dealing with the different stages surrounding chronic disease and death. Regardless, depression, fear, and anxiety can come along with a serious diagnosis.
Patients who have access to psychedelic medications as part of treatment for their serious illnesses have found they aren’t afraid of death anymore. Many frequently report their ketamine experience as one of the most meaningful in their life.
Benefits of Ketamine Therapy in Palliative Setting:
What is the difference between Palliative and Hospice care?
Both palliative and hospice care focus on improving the quality of life for individuals with serious illnesses.
Palliative care focuses on supporting patients regardless of the stage of the illness or whether curative treatment is being pursued. The focus is on symptom management and improving overall well-being.
Hospice care is a type of palliative care that focuses on supporting individuals in the advanced stages of a terminal illness who have a prognosis of 6 months or less to live.
How is Ketamine Used for Palliative Care?
Ketamine is a medication that was originally developed as an anesthetic, but its unique properties have led to its use in various medical contexts, including palliative care. Ketamine’s potential benefits in palliative care include its analgesic (pain-relieving) and psychotropic effects (for treating the mental health aspects). Ketamine can decrease the use of narcotics and hence side effects (such as nausea and constipation) associated with high opiate doses.
Ketamine is known for its strong pain-fighting properties. It can help manage severe pain that is often associated with advanced stages of cancer, neuropathic pain, or other chronic conditions. In addition, ketamine has been shown to possess rapid-acting antidepressant effects in some individuals with treatment-resistant depression. Patients may experience significant emotional distress in palliative care due to their medical condition and prognosis. Ketamine’s ability to quickly alleviate depressive symptoms can be life-changing. Ketamine may help alleviate existential distress or fear of death that is experienced by some.
It’s important to note that ketamine’s use in palliative care requires careful medical supervision and a personalized approach. The dosage, administration, and monitoring vary based on the patient’s condition, medical history, and specific needs. As with any medical treatment, decisions regarding the use of ketamine in palliative care should be made in collaboration with a healthcare team.
There is Hope
Restore Your Peace
This is a chance to put things into perspective and accept what is out of our control.
Dr. Ko discusses the importance of gratitude to restore the sense of peace in our lives. Furthermore, he dives into a new perspective of remembering our lives are precious because of their finiteness, and that we can have peace when we keep in mind that value. He also goes into detail on how Ketamine can help enable this process of coming to terms with our mortality because of the experiences it provides.
What is some of the scientific evidence for the use of ketamine in the palliative care setting?
Here are some of the top articles, there are many more out there.
Ketamine Protocol for Palliative Care in Cancer Patients with Refractory Pain
J Adv Pract Oncol. 2015 Nov-Dec; 6(6): 555-561.
A case study of two patients whose pain was unbearable, despite high opioid administration. Following a 3-6 day series of ketamine, both patients reported their pain as manageable and were able to rest and socialize with their families again.
Ketamine – J Pain Symptom Manage. 2011 Mar; 41(3): 640-649
This comprehensive review provides essential independent information about drugs used in the palliative and hospice setting.
A Review of Recent Applications of Ketamine
J Family Med Prim Care. 2020 Mar; 9(3):1317-1324
This review concluded Ketamine is the preferred option for some cases of “opioid tolerance, inflammatory pain, neuropathic pain, and/or depression” among cancer patients.
Ketamine for Treatment of Depression in Patients Receiving Hospice Care: A Retrospective Medical Record Review of Thirty-One Cases
Psychosomatics. 2015 July-Aug 56(4):329-337
A case study on 31 hospice patients with depression who had been treated with Ketamine. Nearly all of the patients responded positively to the treatment, reporting an increase in their mood within 1-2 days of receiving the Ketamine. Side effects were also limited, with most patients not experiencing any.
The Efficacy of Ketamine in the Palliative Care Setting
J Palliat Med. 2019 Sep;22(9):1154-1161.
This comprehensive review of 11 studies concluded antidepressant effects were present for patients receiving palliative care.
REQUEST A CONSULTATION
We offer the Five Wishes document
The Five Wishes document allows you to organize your values and choices in the face of serious illness or injury and communicate your wishes with loved ones and healthcare providers. This way those that care for you know they are respecting your autonomy and can better care for you. Five Wishes goes beyond just medical decisions and addresses emotional, personal, and spiritual needs as well. Facing death can be very difficult, especially when trying to communicate your wishes to your loved ones. We want you to live the life that you want to live, and that means granting your right to choose your care.
The comprehensive framework of the Five Wishes opens the door to discussing and documenting personal preferences related to medical care and end-of-life decisions. Most importantly, it helps you ensure your wishes are honored and respected. This also eases the burden on family and friends who might otherwise have to make difficult decisions without clear guidance about your specific desires.
For more information, please visit the Five Wishes website.
During Your Ketamine Infusion
Ketamine can make patients sensitive to sound and light, so each patient gets optional nightshades, noise-canceling headphones, and a personal tablet where music is streamed. Although many patients, especially those suffering from anxiety, can be nervous about their first treatment, by their second, they are feeling much more relaxed and looking forward to and more open to the experience. It is a different process for each of us, and we are here to help you in any way we can. During your intake, we will take the time to explain what to expect and how to set a proper intention for your session. To find out more about the journey, visit our Patient Prep page. For even more information, we recommend the book A Ketamine Infusion: A Patient’s Guide 2nd edition. It was written in plain language by a ketamine patient herself. We are not affiliated with the author or publisher, but we just found it to be a helpful resource.
We are a fully equipped medical facility ready for the unlikely event of an emergency. Dr. Mallek is a board-certified anesthesiologist with extensive experience in many situations. The clinic is designed to be comfortable, and the right setting for the treatments offered.
A Comfortable & Welcoming Environment
We strive to ensure that all of our patients feel welcome and as comfortable as possible during their visit. We provide private rooms for each patient during all our ketamine intravenous treatments. Our patients always remain in a safe atmosphere assisted by our professional medical staff members that provide one-on-one care at all times.
At Relevare, we are dedicated to making you feel heard, taken care of, and relaxed.