When your family is suddenly hit with the passing of a loved one, it leaves little to no time to prepare. On the other hand, a person who is slowly transitioning can become confusing for families as they may not be as sure as to what’s happening. If you are prepared no matter what the circumstance is, you have the opportunity to be ready for what’s coming.
Have conversations with your loved ones physician and nurses, listen to what they are telling you even though it may be hard to accept. You may experience the following symptoms with your loved one who is nearing the end: They may become tired and sleep majority of the day. Anxiety and confusion can happen, they may refuse to eat or drink anything and dyspnea (shortness of breath) sets in. In addition to these things, when a person is nearing the end of their life, the body (arms, hands, feet, etc.) become cool to the touch. Breathing and heart rate decreases and some may hear a rattling or gurgling sound-also referred to as the death rattle. The chest eventually stops moving with no air coming in or out, and there is no pulse.
This transition phase that people go through can be hard for families and loved ones to watch. However, it can be comforting for the person going through this to have family or a caregiver present. Do not feel that you must stay by their side at all times. If there are others with you, take turns staying bedside with your loved one allowing one another a break. Some individuals will pass when all the family and friends have left and they are alone, this can be common.
Dying is a natural part of life and each person’s dying experience is unique. Family, friends, and caregivers can all play an important supporting role. At the end, it’s not so much what you say or do, just being there can provide a sense of protection and comfort. Hospice can help patients and families through this tough process. Hospice’s goal is to respect each individual’s dignity and honor and to provide quality comfort care and support.
For more information on CompassionCare, hospice, or support services, call us today.