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Macy Catheter, rectal medication, sublingual medications, suppository, symptom management



  1. Paez, Kathryn BSN, RN, CHPN
  2. Gregg, Meegan NP, CHPN
  3. Massion, Charlea T. MD
  4. Macy, Brad BSN, BA, RN, CHPN


The oral route is compromised for nearly all patients at the end of life (EOL). This article reviews the benefits and burdens of the usual alternative routes of medication delivery when the oral route fails and presents a case study on the use of a new innovation for the rectal delivery of medication to control EOL symptoms. A 62-year-old male hospice patient with end-stage metastatic prostate cancer presented with severe symptoms (Face, Legs, Activity, Cry and Consolability scale score, 9/10) that were uncontrollable with medications given via oral or sublingual routes. The patient goals were to remain at home with optimal symptom management. Rapid relief of symptoms was accomplished by the administration of medications already present in the home delivered with a new rectal catheter that provides discreet access for ongoing medication administration. Significant relief was noted within 20 minutes of dosing. The patient died peacefully 18 hours later, meeting his EOL goals, and the family was empowered to provide effective care for the patient at home. The family found the intervention easy to use. This case demonstrates how this new innovation can be used to ensure rapid symptom management and decreased burden of care by facilitating immediate and easy use of medications already present in the home.