- Jennifer Betz
Can Hospice Patients Use Medical Marijuana in Missouri
When patients with a terminal illness choose to focus on quality of life, medical marijuana can help pain, nausea and anxiety.
For some patients, choosing to enter hospice is one of the most freeing decisions they have ever made. For others, it feels like a crushing submission.
Letting go of more aggressive forms of treatment and choosing instead to focus on quality of life can mean different things to everyone; but it often comes with the challenge of balancing medications that increase comfort with making sure patients stay coherent enough to appreciate the weeks, days, and hours they have left with family.
Fortunately, Missouri voters passed a bill in 2018 that makes terminally ill patients eligible for medical marijuana. This may help people who are facing the end of their lives get the pain relief they need while reducing some of the more unpleasant side effects of prescription painkillers.
Getting healthcare providers to facilitate access to medical marijuana while in hospice is a complicated matter, but friends and family members can register as caregivers to ease the process.
Registered caregivers can shop at Missouri cannabis dispensaries to obtain the kinds of products that could improve quality of life, and most hospice providers and facilities will allow caregivers to administer medical marijuana for their patients. Caregivers may also apply for a home cultivation license to grow marijuana plants for the patient.
Who Qualifies to Become a Registered Caregiver in the Missouri Medical Marijuana Program?
In order to become a registered caregiver through the Missouri medical marijuana program, you must meet the following requirements:
Be twenty-one (21) years of age or older
Responsible for managing the well-being of a Qualified Patient
Designated by the qualified patient on the primary caregiver’s application for an identification card or in other written notification to the Department (we’ll get to this part in the next section)
Patients can have up to two caregivers, and caregivers may service up to three patients.
How Do I Register as a Patient Caregiver in Missouri?
In order to designate a caregiver for medical marijuana in Missouri, patients must follow these steps:
Once the steps have been completed, caregivers can then create an account with the DHSS Missouri Medical Marijuana Program Portal and submit an application to be a caregiver.
We understand that the process can be overwhelming, especially during major life challenges. And the DHSS has been notorious for not being particularly helpful when it comes to the medical marijuana program. This is why our dedicated staff is here six days a week, to walk you through the process.
Give us a call at (877)303-3117, and we can answer any questions you have about the program and what you need to know about becoming a caregiver.
Can I Use Medical Marijuana While in Hospice?
Generally, the answer is yes. Patients who are under hospice care usually have complete control over their symptom management. Some of this, however, will likely depend on whether or not you are in a facility like a nursing home or memory care center, and what that facility’s policies are.
We contacted Unity Hospice and Palliative Care in St Louis, to get their take on using medical marijuana while under their care.
According to the representative we spoke with, medical marijuana while in hospice is so complicated because most care is covered under Medicare, which is a Federal program. Marijuana is Federally illegal and considered a Schedule I controlled substance.
However, the representative, who requested anonymity, also stated that, “We do not have a problem with patients using medical marijuana. We note it on their records, and we work with them to stay comfortable regardless of their chosen treatment course.”
She added that “It’s all about paying it forward, providing service to our patients in the best way possible. We call it our second paycheck when we know we’ve helped someone through these difficult times. It’s not just about the patient, but the family and the community.”
Essentially, making sure patients in hospice stay comfortable, and caregivers, loved ones, and the community as a whole get the support they need is Unity’s top priority. If medical marijuana is what a patient needs, then Unity supports that decision.
Get a Missouri Marijuana Card for Access to Compassionate Relief
Many hospice patients prefer medical marijuana as a supplement or even a primary source of relief from pain and anxiety that can come with end of life complications. Medical marijuana often does not come with the harsh side effects, and it is available in gentle tinctures and edibles so you don’t have to inhale anything.
Give our patient support representatives a call at (877) 303-3117 and we can answer all your questions to help you get started. If you are ready to take the next step, schedule an appointment with one of our compassionate doctors online or by phone! We offer convenient telehealth services, so you never have to leave your home to start getting the natural relief you deserve.
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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