As an I'm almost constantly doing introspection. Today I was helping out with an emergency situation where one of our wonderful nurses was in a car accident. During my visit with a patient I admitted yesterday who is transitioning towards actively dying, I was in bewilderment in my own mind about how comfortable and peacefully patient I am when I'm around the terminally ill and their family.

I was with the family for close to an hour and a half, some educational, some patient assessment, some a telephone call to our wonderful medical director with recommendations seeking a verbal order. Yet even in that bewilderment and self-examination, I was also (this is part of being an ) soaking in the various details including the tender love shown by the family towards their loved one.

The daughter and I changed the patient providing incontinence care, and when we were done, the daughter leans over to her mother to tell her how much she loved her and was there with her. It was an honor to witness such a tender moment of love and .

I also got to enjoy the humor, and yes there can be humor as part of living even with someone dying about discussing having the lights dim to lower stimulation when the family asked if it would help to play peaceful music for the patient to listen to as they slip deeper and deeper into a comatose-like state towards actively dying. I said that would be a great idea thinking something along the lines of the type of music they play at the dentist or doctor's office that puts you to sleep. When I shared what I thought would be peaceful music, the family smiled and shared the patient's version of peaceful music is ACDC hard rock and we all shared a laugh and a smile.

Hospice is about making each moment matter allowing the patient and family to have as much control as possible and to be as comfortable as possible.

Providing Comfort During the Last Days of Life with Barbara Karnes RN (YouTube Video)

Preparing the patient, family, and caregivers for a “Good Death”

Velocity of Changes in Condition as an Indicator of Approaching Death (often helpful to answer how soon? or when?)

The Dying Process and the End of Life

The Last Hours of Life

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Gone from My Sight: The Dying Experience

The Eleventh Hour: A Caring Guideline for the Hours to Minutes Before Death

By Your Side , A Guide for Caring for the Dying at Home

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