Symptoms: Why so many medications?

In hospice palliative care, it is important to understand that many medications may be used to provide comfort to the dying individual.

In this role play, a health care worker expresses common concerns heard from family about the number of medications their loved one are taking. Learn how to communicate with family and co-workers about their concerns from the nurse’s explanation about the care strategies underlying the need for multiple medications.


  • 0’00” Start
  • 0’10” Introduction to the role play between a health care worker and nurse as they discuss concerns about “so many medications.”
  • 4’50” Medications can cause symptoms and they can treat symptoms.
  • 6’35” “What about all these horse pills?”
  • 7’50” “If that wasn’t bad enough…”
  • 3’23 ” Each member of the care team needs to know who and when to report information.
  • 4’22 ” Why does it matter that the patient is the expert?
  • 8’47” Balance food intake with pills and mouth washes.
  • 9’45” Strange behaviour noticed.

Enhancing comfort and managing symptoms, Essentials in Hospice Palliative Care, 2nd Edition, Katherine Murray, 2009.

Written and preformed by Kath Murray, Deb Starck, Christina Foerster
All Rights Reserved Life and Death Matters 2010