Category: Death and Dying

Articles pertaining to death and dying including the dying process and how clinicians determine how much longer a terminally ill patient has to live.

Review of Gone from My Sight by Barbara Karnes, RN

Gone From My Sight The Dying Experience By Barbara Karnes
As an experienced hospice nurse with years of experience, I have come across numerous resources that aim to guide families and caregivers through the process of dying. One such resource that stands out is "Gone from my sight: The Dying Experience" by Barbara Karnes, RN. This booklet, often referred to as the "Little Blue Book," has been a staple for hospice providers for over three decades, and for good reason.
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Managing Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State at End of Life: A Comfort-Based Approach

Dka Vs Hhs For Diabetes
As an experienced hospice nurse, I understand that managing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state (HHS) at end of life can be challenging, especially when patients choose to stop taking their diabetic medications or when those medications are no longer an option. In this article, I will provide information on recognizing the signs and symptoms of hyperglycemic crises and outline comfort-based treatment options that align with hospice goals of care.
Read MoreManaging Diabetic Ketoacidosis and Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State at End of Life: A Comfort-Based Approach

Understanding Nutrition Changes in Hospice: Nourishing Comfort and Peaceful End-of-Life Journey

treating poor appetite food first considering portion size
As your loved one enters the final stages of their life, their nutritional needs will change. This article aims to provide you with insights into understanding the reduced calorie needs during this crucial time. It's important to know that these changes are a natural part of the body's process as it prepares for the end of life journey.
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Best Practices for Oral Care in Hospice Patients: A Guide for Families

oral mouth swabs
Caring for a loved one who is comatose during their hospice journey requires special attention, particularly when it comes to oral care. In this guide, we'll explore best practices for oral care, considering the unique needs of comatose patients, and provide you with valuable resources for further guidance.
Read MoreBest Practices for Oral Care in Hospice Patients: A Guide for Families

Supporting a Loved One’s Decision to Voluntarily Stop Eating and Drinking in Hospice Care

vsed and the body response
When a terminally ill loved one expresses a desire to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (VSED), it can be a challenging and emotional situation for families. Understanding their wishes, providing support, and ensuring a comfortable end-of-life journey are essential considerations. In this article, we will explore how families can support their loved ones' decision, help, and alleviate suffering during this grim time.
Read MoreSupporting a Loved One’s Decision to Voluntarily Stop Eating and Drinking in Hospice Care

Understanding Terminal Illness Progression: Observable Signs and Symptoms

how people die trajectory
When a loved one receives a terminal diagnosis, it's natural to wonder about the journey ahead. Terminal illnesses follow a unique path, and understanding the signs and symptoms at various stages can help you provide the best care and support. This article aims to guide you through the general progression of terminal illnesses, focusing on observable signs and symptoms as the patient approaches the end of life. The progression of a terminal illness can vary depending on the type of illness, the person’s age, health, and treatment options. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that indicate that the illness is advancing, and the person is approaching the end of life. These signs and symptoms can help you and your loved one prepare for what is to come and make the most of the remaining time together.
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To Wake or Not to Wake: A Dilemma for Caregivers of Dementia Patients in the Final Stage

Daughter Feeding Her Mother Via A Straw
Dementia is a challenging disease that affects thinking, memory, and daily activities. In the final stage where the patient can no longer support their head, caregivers face a crucial decision: whether to wake the terminally ill dementia patient for feeding or let them sleep, periodically checking for alertness. This article explores the ethical dilemma surrounding this decision, providing insights into the pros and cons of both choices.
Read MoreTo Wake or Not to Wake: A Dilemma for Caregivers of Dementia Patients in the Final Stage

Understanding the Patient’s Question: When Will I Die?

Wirlpool
One common question that both patients (if they are mentally aware) and their loved ones often ask is about the timing of the patient's passing. While the exact answer lies beyond human knowledge, hospice nurses play a crucial role in assessing the patient's journey towards the end of life. In this article, we will explore how to provide a rough estimate using widely followed guidelines.
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Understanding End Stage Coma: A Guide for Families

Definition Of A Comma
Dealing with a loved one in end stage coma can be an emotionally challenging and overwhelming experience. As an experienced nurse with years of experience, I understand the importance of providing compassionate care and support during this difficult journey. In this article, we will explore what to expect during the course of the disease, changes you might see in your loved one, and essential tips for caring for them from onset until death.
Read MoreUnderstanding End Stage Coma: A Guide for Families

Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease: A Guide from Onset to End-of-Life

Alzheimer's Symptoms
This guide is for families who have a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease. As an experienced hospice nurse with years of experience, I understand the challenges you may face on this journey. Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive condition affecting memory, cognition, and behavior, and caring for someone with this disease requires compassion, patience, and knowledge. In this article, we will explore what to expect over the course of the disease, changes you might see in your loved one, and how to provide the best care from onset until the end-of-life.
Read MoreCaring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease: A Guide from Onset to End-of-Life

Understanding Changes in Palliative Performance Scale in the Last Six Months of Life

Palliative Performance Scale Ppsv2
In the journey towards end-of-life care, understanding the Palliative Performance Scale (PPSv2) and its downward changes in the last six months can provide valuable insights for hospice caregivers, patients, and families. This article aims to break down these changes' month by month, offering guidance on what to expect during this crucial period.
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Why Saying Goodbye to Your Dying Loved One Matters

One Of The Greatest Gifts You Can Give To A Dying Friend Is Your Time And Attention During Their Final Days
Losing a loved one to a terminal illness is an incredibly challenging experience. It's a journey filled with emotions, uncertainties, and the need for profound empathy. One crucial aspect of this journey is saying goodbye to your dying loved one and granting them permission to pass peacefully. In this article, we'll explore the significance of these acts, which not only bring comfort to the terminally ill but also aid in the grieving process for those left behind. We'll also share three case studies to illustrate the importance of these actions.
Read MoreWhy Saying Goodbye to Your Dying Loved One Matters

The Death Visit from a Hospice Nurse

Body And Soul
Losing a loved one is an incredibly challenging and emotional experience, and witnessing someone's final moments can be overwhelming, especially if you have never been through it before. As a hospice nurse with years of experience, I understand the importance of providing guidance and support during this time. In this article, I want to help prepare you for what to expect during the death visit and explain the role of the hospice registered nurse in the pronouncement process.
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The Last Breath of Life

Daughter Kissing Her Dying Mothers Forehead
As a caregiver or family member, witnessing the final hour of a loved one's life can be a challenging and emotional experience. It's important to be prepared and understand what to expect during this time. While each person's journey is unique, there are some common physical changes that may occur in the last hour of life. Here's a guide to help you navigate this sensitive time:
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