Each death experience is unique. Death can occur quickly or linger for days, weeks, or even months. The body diminishes but the intellect remains clear in some elderly people. Physical strength may outlast cognitive deterioration. Many people question what occurs when someone dies. You may wonder how to soothe, what to say, or do.
This article discusses techniques to help a dying person feel better. Often, a team is involved: Always verify with the person’s medical team to ensure these recommendations are acceptable.
What is hospice care?
End-of-life care is medical assistance for dying. This type of care does not end with the last breath or heartbeat. Many elderly people have chronic ailments that need long-term care. Preferences, wishes, or actions may impact how someone dies. Others choose to die in a hospital or institution. Many prefer to be surrounded by loved ones, while some must go alone. You may assist your loved one die gently by respecting their wishes.
Dying individuals require assistance in four areas:
- Bodily comfort
- Mental and Emotional Needs
- Spiritual Requirements
- Practical Chores
Of course, the dying person’s family requires help with duties and mental suffering.
End-of-life care: physical comfort
Discomfort at death can occur from several sources. Depending on the source of the pain, you or a caregiver can help make the dying person more comfortable. For example, the individual may be bothered by:
- Itching and skin irritation
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Temp sensitivity
Not everyone who dies feels anguish. Experts say that for those who do, the focus should be on pain relief rather than long-term drug dependence or addiction issues.
Suffering significant pain can make a person furious or irritable. This can make meaningful communication with the person difficult for family and other loved ones. Don’t be scared to give as much as the doctor prescribes. Acute pain is difficult to treat and difficult to prevent. Ensure that the discomfort does not outpace the painkillers. If the pain is not managed, tell your doctor. Medicines can be increased or changed. Consider visiting a palliative medical professional if you haven’t already.
Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath are frequent symptoms of advanced age. This is dyspnea. Try elevating the bed’s head, opening a window, using a humidifier, or turning on a fan to assist your loved one breathe easier. Morphine or other painkillers can assist ease shortness of breath.
A dying individual may have an irregular breathing pattern called Cheyne-Stokes breathing. There may be deep, heavy breaths followed by shallow or no breaths. Some persons near death experience loud breathing, dubbed “death rattles.” This loud breathing usually does not bother the dying person, but it may concern family and friends. Try moving them to one side or raising their head. Prescription drugs may help.
Skin issues can be highly distressing for a dying person. Keep the skin clean and hydrated. In the event of irritation or dryness, apply a non-alcohol
Dryness of the lips and eyelids is a typical cause of discomfort approaching death. Some suggestions:
- Lip balm or petroleum jelly
- Apply an eye cream or gel gently.
- Close the person’s eyes with a moist towel.
- If the inside of the mouth feels dry, offering ice chips or cleaning it with a moist cloth, cotton ball, or specially prepared swab may help.
Constant sitting or laying in one position can cause severe bed sores (sometimes called pressure ulcers). Bed sores cause skin discoloration or darkening. Look out for discolored areas on the heels, hips, lower back, and back of the head.
To avoid bed sores and stiffness, turn the person in bed every few hours. Put a foam pad beneath the person’s heel or elbow to relieve pressure. Ask your doctor whether a customized mattress or chair cushion could assist.
Symptoms of death include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and appetite loss. Swallowing may be an issue. The reasons and treatments for these symptoms differ, so see a doctor or nurse. Nausea, vomiting, and constipation are all frequent adverse effects of severe pain drugs. Provide small servings of favorite dishes if they lose appetite. Frequent feedings vs. three big meals Feeding assistance for fatigued or weak patients. But don’t force food on the ill. Loss of appetite is a hallmark of death. While going without food or water isn’t painful, it might make you sick. Giving up food may help someone accept their mortality.
Hands, arms, feet, and legs may be chilly to the touch when near death. Some bodily parts may get darker or bluer. People in distress may not be able to express their discomfort, so look for signs. For example, a hot person may frequently remove a blanket. Remove the blanket and cool the person’s head. Cold people hunch their shoulders, pull up their blankets, and shudder. Check for drafts, turn up the heat, and add an additional blanket. Electric blankets might grow overly hot.
Near-death people typically feel tired and weak. Less is more. A bedside commode might save time going to the restroom. A shower stool or sponge showers in bed can help.
Stress management toward the best hospice care in Chicago can assist the dying person manage their emotions. A person nearing death may be melancholy or nervous. It’s critical to address emotional distress. Contact a counselor, maybe one acquainted with end-of-life problems, to promote sharing feelings. Medications may alleviate severe sadness or anxiety.
The dying person may have concerns. Afraid of the unknown or those left? Some dread dying alone. These feelings may be exacerbated by family, friends, and even medical professionals. As a result of not knowing how to help or what to say, relatives and friends may stop coming. Doctors may reject vulnerable patients. Some people may have mental disorientation or bizarre conduct, making it difficult to interact with loved ones. A dying person may feel even more alone.
Here are some suggestions:
- Make eye contact. Try holding hands or massaging.
- Set a calming tone. Some prefer solitude and less people. Soften the illumination.
- Play music quietly. This can assist, relax and relieve discomfort.
- Include the dying. If they can still speak, ask what they need.
- Be there. Meet the individual. Even if they can’t respond, read to them. If they can talk, let them speak without thinking about your next words. To a dying person, your presence is priceless.
End-of-life spiritual demands
Spiritual needs may be as significant as bodily requirements for those facing death. Finding purpose in life, resolving conflicts with others, or accepting life’s circumstances are all spiritual demands. A dying person may find solace in settling disputes with friends or relatives. A social worker or counselor may be helpful.
For many, faith is a consolation. Others may struggle with faith or spirituality. Religious music or prayers may assist. The person can also talk to a minister, priest, rabbi, or imam. Family and friends might discuss the value of their relationship with the dying. Adult children may tell how their father affected their life. Grandchildren can express their gratitude to their granddad. Friends may express how much they respect years of help. Those unable to attend in person can send a video or audio recording of their message, or a letter to be read out.
Sharing happy memories might also help some people feel tranquility. This is reassuring for everybody. Some experts believe that even unconscious patients may hear. Always speak to, not about, the dying. Identify yourself as you enter the room. Ask someone to record some of the last words uttered by and to the dying individual. These comments may one day bring solace to family and friends. A confused dying person may become lucid. Recognize that these times are likely ephemeral and not indicative of development. A dying person may see or talk to an absentee. Avoid correcting or claiming hallucination. Letting a dying person live their own life Dying people may dream of deceased relatives, friends, or religious figures. The dying person’s reaction varies, but they are often comforting.
Supporting practical activities
Both the dying and the caretaker have many practical obligations towards the end of life. In the end, a person’s legacy may worry him It may help to say things like “I’ll water your African violets,” “Jessica has agreed to take after Bandit,” “Dad, we want Mom to move in immediately.” The dying person has everything in order. Daily duties might exhaust a dying person and their caretaker. Besides duties, a family member or friend can aid by bringing up the mail or picking up prescriptions. Notifying close family might be difficult. Create an incoming voicemail or a phone tree. Several businesses are listed at the conclusion of this article to assist.
Providing Oasis hospice care and comfort can be physically and emotionally draining. If you are the primary caregiver, seek for and accept support. Don’t be afraid to assign a duty to a volunteer. Friends and relatives want to help you and the dying person, but they may not know how.
Finally, remember that there is no “perfect” death, so do your best for your loved one. The knowledge that you did your part when needed may help ease the loss of a loved one.
Hospice is made to help loved ones live in serenity, and with dignity until the time comes. Call (708) 564-4838 to learn more about end-of-life care goals.