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Hospice End of Life Stages

Jul 29, 2016 by Anonymous

Care of elderly people requires attending to many different aspects of their well being. When end-of-life issues are at stake, experienced care becomes even more important. An experienced elder care agency can help assist in keeping the patient calm and comfortable as they pass through the final stages of life.

Below are the common features seen during the end-of-life period:

Physical Weakness/Fatigue

The person may sleep much more throughout the day and night as they try to conserve energy. The increased weakness will require additional help with simple tasks to maintain comfort and cleanliness. The person may become embarrassed or angered by their inability to do tasks or control symptoms. A loving attitude, sense of humor and calm demeanor will help the individual through this difficult period.

Less Eating and Drinking

A person at the end of life loses their appetite and may have difficulty swallowing. Not eating or drinking can be very disturbing to loved ones, but it is a natural phase of the end of life process. In fact, it is more upsetting to the dying person to be forced to try to eat or drink because it gives them physical distress.

Withdrawal from Family and Friends

The contemplation of their lives, the meaning of their experiences and things they did or failed to do may occupy their thoughts for a great deal of the time. Family and friend may wish to be with the person at this time, but doing so can often be too tiring and may cause distress. Allow the patient to choose whoever they want to be with them at the end stage.

Skin Changes

At the end stages, the skin turns a grayish color. There may be a bluish color about the mouth and nails. Other areas may develop a purplish or mottled color. As circulation wanes, the body may experience temperature changes, making them feel too hot or too cold. Caregivers should be ready to provide more blankets or a fan to help the individual remain comfortable.

Uncontrolled Elimination

People at the end stage often lose bladder or bowel control; cleaning them while talking to them calmly and non-judgmentally can help to overcome their distress or embarrassment.

Restlessness

Individuals at the end stage often become restless, picking at the covers or becoming agitated. Medications may be necessary to help calm these symptoms.

Hallucinations

The individual may see or hear things that aren’t there or may mistake people or things for others. This effect is a natural reaction to the changes in the body and brain that occur at end of life.

Last Breaths

At the end stage, breaths often become noisier, with a moist sound, because of the increase in congestion in the lungs. The sounds may be disturbing to family members, but they are quite normal at this stage in the process. The patient can benefit from opening a window or running a fan in the room to allow the air to circulate more effectively in the room. Changing the patient’s position can help to relief the congestion, and certain medications are available to help dry up mucus.

Comfort Keepers is a Ft. Lauderdale based business that provides in-home health care for the elderly throughout the stages of later life. We can provide experienced, personal care to help patients and their families through this important final stage.

http://www.hospicenet.org/html/preparing_for.html

http://nihseniorhealth.gov/endoflife/addressingothersignsandsymptoms/01.html

http://www.amitabhahospice.org/public/helpful_info/signs_of_dying.php

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