Category: End-of-Life Signs / Symptoms

End-of-Life Developmental Milestones and Tasks

End-of-Life Developmental Milestones and Tasks

Source: Dr. Ira Byock   Dr. Ira Byock is a leader and educator in promoting quality care at the end of life. Below is a framework he developed that outlines some of the issues many people may be contemplating as they approach death. His findings are included here as part of a holistic understanding ofmore>>

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Confusion and Delirium

Confusion and Delirium

Patients nearing death may often have fluctuating degrees of awareness and confusion about time and place where they are, and about the identities of those around them. They may report visitations by those who have already passed away or speak of having conversations with them. Although medically termed as “delirium” and “auditory/visual hallucinations” with various patho-physiological explanations,more>>

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Vital Signs and Skin Color begins to Change

Vital Signs and Skin Color begins to Change

As the body systems begin to shut down, blood is shunted from peripheral organs like skin and muscles to keep circulation going through vital organs like the brain, heart and kidneys. This brings about changes in temperature and color of the skin especially in the hands and feet (most distant from the heart). This alsomore>>

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Changes in Breathing Pattern

Changes in Breathing Pattern

Breathing patterns change often for patients approaching death. It may be accompanied by individual’s inability to clear airway secretions which can sound very distressing like a “rattle” due to patient’s inability to clear his or her own saliva. Studies have shown that this “rattle” like breathing although very discomforting to hear for caretakers, family andmore>>

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Incontinence

Incontinence

Incontinence is the  inability of the body to control the evacuative functions of urination or defecation. This occurs as the bladder and bowels relax toward the last stages of life. With decreased eating and drinking body conserves the limited energy it has and blood circulation through kidneys decrease resulting in decreased and darker colored urine, atmore>>

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Decreased Eating and Drinking

Decreased Eating and Drinking

Nutrition and hydration is what keeps us alive, as we say “Keeping the body and soul together.” This same amount of intake is not needed by the “dying” — to the degree it is mandatory for the living. Offering healthy, desired prasadam (sanctified food) and accepting it is one of the six loving exchanges among Vaishnavas.more>>

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Withdrawal/Decreased Socialization

Withdrawal/Decreased Socialization

All death and dying experiences are unique and influenced by many factors, such as the particular illness and the types of medications being taken, but there are some physical changes that are fairly common. For some, this process may take months or weeks; for others, only a few days or hours. Decreased socialization often occursmore>>

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