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 7. You may notice your loved one becoming restless, pulling at the bed linen, and having visions of people or things which do not exist. These symptoms are a result of a decrease in the oxygen circulation to the brain and a change in the body’s metabolism. Talk calmly and assuredly with the confused person so as not to startle or frighten him/her further. If the visions are pleasing to your patient, allow him/her to talk about them.
8. Your family member will have a decreased need for food and drink because the body will naturally begin to conserve energy which is expended on the tasks. The nurse can give you some information on food supplements which may be helpful in maintaining nutritional status. However, allow the patient the freedom to decide what and when to eat.
9. You may notice a change in breathing patterns in the patient. Breathing may become irregular with 10-30 second periods of no breathing. This symptom is very common and indicative of a decrease in circulation and build-up in body waste products. Elevating the head of the bed sometimes relieves the person who has irregular breathing patterns.
10. If your loved one has a bladder catheter in place, you will notice that the amount of urine will decrease as death becomes closer. Consult with your Hospice nurse, as there may be a need to irrigate the catheter to prevent blockage.
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