Anticipatory prescribing for dying patients

The decision to prescribe medicines ahead of time should always be based on a risk / benefit analysis.

Anticipatory prescribing for the most frequently occurring symptoms in the deteriorating and/or end-of-life phases:
  • Prevents crises and unplanned admissions to hospitals; and
  • Supports dying at home for those patients and their caregivers where this is their choice

Prior to prescribing, confirm and document:

  • Exclusion of reversible / treatable causes, where appropriate
  • Agreement from the team of the diagnosis of dying
  • Discussion with the family
  • Review of all current prescription.
    If a patient is currently receiving subcutaneous analgesics, anxiolytics, antipsychotics or antiemetics; consider adding or increasing the doses of PRN medicines to manage emergent symptoms
All anticipatory orders should be reviewed after 24 hours



Page updated 19 July 2018

palliAGED is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.