Category: End-of-Life Signs / Symptoms

It’s About Life

It’s About Life

by Betsy Murphy , FNP, CHPN  Only 10 percent of Americans will die suddenly. The remainder of us (90 percent) will decline slowly, growing weaker until we die. Because this process is so gradual, we often don’t recognize that a loved one is approaching the final weeks of life. This may be why most Americans,more>>

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Confusion and Delirium

Confusion and Delirium

As the time of death approaches, your patient may exhibit increased restlessness and/or repetitive actions, such as pulling at bed linens or repeatedly reaching for something in the air that is not visible to anyone else but the patient. This is sometimes referred to as “terminal anxiety.” You may also observe increased confusion as your patientmore>>

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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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What Do We Owe Our Fellow Vaishnavas?

What Do We Owe Our Fellow Vaishnavas?

As devotees of Lord Krishna, we are well aware that this material body is temporary and that the soul, the real “self” is eternal. Yet, if diagnosed with a terminal illness, each of us stands at varying places on the spiritual path and each of us will initially react differently to the news that we willmore>>

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Medications and Symptom Management

Medications and Symptom Management

When a patient’s health reaches a time when curative measures will no longer have an effect to change the disease progression or extend the patient’s life, your patient’s physician may recommend that medications previously given for a cure be stopped. (Caution: Always consult the patient’s physician and/or hospice nurse before stopping or starting any medication, even over-the-countermore>>

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