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Experience Emotional and Spiritual Changes
A dying person may talk about going on a trip, ask to go home, or speak to people you don’t see. Strong emotions such as fear or anger also may be expressed near end of life. Although not everyone will experience these responses, they are considered normal and expected.
• Continue to respond in your usual way.
• Realize that the dying person may be working through important issues such as life review,
saying goodbye and letting go.
• Accept that unusual language or references are not always signs of a problem and may hold helpful insights into the dying person’s experience.This is explained in the book Final Gifts (1993) by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley.
• Ask for our Spiritual Care Provider or your own spiritual advisor to visit and discuss these changes with you.
Become Confused and/or Restless
A dying person may be unable to recognize familiar people or surroundings, see things that you cannot see, pull at their sheets and clothing or reach into the air.
• Speak calmly, slowly and in a manner that is familiar to the person.
• Offer reassurance about their safety and your presence.
• Consider playing calm and soothing music, gently placing your hand on the person or offering a gentle hand or foot massage.
• Keep the atmosphere quiet and turn down the lights.Try to minimize stimulation.
• Give gentle reminders about the time, where they are and who is present in the room. Use caution when attempting to correct or discount what appears real to the dying person as this may increase their distress.
• Ask the nurse, doctor or palliative care team if medications would help. Have Difficulty Swallowing
A dying person may forget to swallow or have difficulty swallowing as weakness increases. Foods and fluids with the consistency of yogurt are easier to swallow than thin water-like fluids.
• Give only small amounts of food and fluid.Too much may cause choking and/or vomiting.
• Remind the person to swallow.
• Ask the nurse or doctor to suggest how to give medications when the person can no longer swallow.
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 End of Life

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