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Signs that death is approaching


karolynca

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Somebody sent this to me when my dad was getting weaker and sick, this was very helpful in those last two days and thought I might post it here so it can help others

What are the signs that death is approaching? What can the caregiver do to make the patient comfortable?

Certain signs and symptoms can help a caregiver anticipate when death is near. They are described below, along with suggestions for managing them. It is important to remember that not every patient experiences each of the signs and symptoms. In addition, the presence of one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate that the patient is close to death. A member of the patient's health care team can give family members and caregivers more information about what to expect.

  • Drowsiness, increased sleep, and/or unresponsiveness (caused by changes in the patient's metabolism).
    The caregiver and family members can plan visits and activities for times when the patient is alert. It is important to speak directly to the patient and talk as if the person can hear, even if there is no response. Most patients are still able to hear after they are no longer able to speak. Patients should not be shaken if they do not respond.
  • Confusion about time, place, and/or identity of loved ones; restlessness; visions of people and places that are not present; pulling at bed linens or clothing (caused in part by changes in the patient's metabolism). Gently remind the patient of the time, date, and people who are with them. If the patient is agitated, do not attempt to restrain the patient. Be calm and reassuring. Speaking calmly may help to re-orient the patient.
  • Decreased socialization and withdrawal (caused by decreased oxygen to the brain, decreased blood flow, and mental preparation for dying).
    Speak to the patient directly. Let the patient know you are there for them. The patient may be aware and able to hear, but unable to respond. Professionals advise that giving the patient permission to “let go” can be helpful.
  • Decreased need for food and fluids, and loss of appetite (caused by the body's need to conserve energy and its decreasing ability to use food and fluids properly).
    Allow the patient to choose if and when to eat or drink. Ice chips, water, or juice may be refreshing if the patient can swallow. Keep the patient's mouth and lips moist with products such as glycerin swabs and lip balm.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control (caused by the relaxing of muscles in the pelvic area).
    Keep the patient as clean, dry, and comfortable as possible. Place disposable pads on the bed beneath the patient and remove them when they become soiled.
  • Darkened urine or decreased amount of urine (caused by slowing of kidney function and/or decreased fluid intake).
    Caregivers can consult a member of the patient's health care team about the need to insert a catheter to avoid blockage. A member of the health care team can teach the caregiver how to take care of the catheter if one is needed.
  • Skin becomes cool to the touch, particularly the hands and feet; skin may become bluish in color, especially on the underside of the body (caused by decreased circulation to the extremities).
    Blankets can be used to warm the patient. Although the skin may be cool, patients are usually not aware of feeling cold. Caregivers should avoid warming the patient with electric blankets or heating pads, which can cause burns.
  • Rattling or gurgling sounds while breathing, which may be loud; breathing that is irregular and shallow; decreased number of breaths per minute; breathing that alternates between rapid and slow (caused by congestion from decreased fluid consumption, a buildup of waste products in the body, and/or a decrease in circulation to the organs).
    Breathing may be easier if the patient's body is turned to the side and pillows are placed beneath the head and behind the back. Although labored breathing can sound very distressing to the caregiver, gurgling and rattling sounds do not cause discomfort to the patient. An external source of oxygen may benefit some patients. If the patient is able to swallow, ice chips also may help. In addition, a cool mist humidifier may help make the patient's breathing more comfortable.
  • Turning the head toward a light source (caused by decreasing vision).
    Leave soft, indirect lights on in the room.
  • Increased difficulty controlling pain (caused by progression of the disease).
    It is important to provide pain medications as the patient's doctor has prescribed. The caregiver should contact the doctor if the prescribed dose does not seem adequate. With the help of the health care team, caregivers can also explore methods such as massage and relaxation techniques to help with pain.
  • Involuntary movements (called myoclonus), changes in heart rate, and loss of reflexes in the legs and arms are additional signs that the end of life is near.

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ty so much for sharing this i wish i had seen this before my mom had passed i would have been better informed -- have a great day

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Dear Members,

We are excited to mention that we are moving to a more new and improved message boards on MONDAY MORNING AUGUST 9th! The boards will be done for a few hours while we are making the conversation. Remember we posted information about this move a month ago. For some of you this might seem a bit sudden,  but when we were reviewing the site we determined the current message board you are using is out of date and the company that designed it is no longer in existence. The good news is this new message board will have new features that have been requested in the past like more fields we can add to your profiles and a chat room up to 20 people at one time. If we find the chat room is bursting at the seams we will add additional room for extra people. All your old posts, private messages and such will be migrated to the new message board. You might have to put up your profile picture again but not sure. The new company will be doing the migration for us. Here is a short list of some of the new features on the board:

- Custom Profile Fields

- Users can customize their profile pages by selecting a background color or background image, with tiling options.

- Facebook and Twitter Integration

- users can respond to multiple posts at once with "mini-quote"

- Pinned discussion threads - like welcome to our board etc.

- Announcements made across some boards or the entire message board

- Search: Users can easily find all content generated by a particular member, by clicking the 'Find Content' button that appears on the main profile page, or in the Mini Profile Popup which can be accessed throughout the board. The results page allows content to be filtered by application, as well whether the member created it or merely participated in it.

- Privacy: allows users to sign in anonymously, hiding them from the online users list. Users also have the option to disable personal conversations and user-to-user emails, as well as ignore other users if necessary.

The next exciting piece of news about the new message board is it will have a new domain name of www.grieving.com for search engine optimization purposes. It will still be apart of Beyond Indigo and can be found through www.beyondindigo.com. We will be redirecting your current URL's to this new domain name but we might miss a few. If that is the case simply go back to www.grieving.com or www.beyondindigo.com to find your message board thread. We will try to make the transition as seamless as possible.

The bottom line is the new board will give us room to grow our community and more options to interact better with each other.

If you have any questions please direct them to feedback@beyondindigo.com.

Kelly Baltzell, MA

CEO/President

Beyond Indigo Family

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