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Last Days of Life (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Symptom Management

Common Symptoms at End of Life and Their Treatment continued...

The following steps should be taken when bleeding occurs:

  • Cover the area with dark-colored (e.g., blue or green) towels to limit visual exposure to the blood.
  • Speak calmly and reassure the patient that he or she is not alone (and, if loved ones are in attendance, let the patient know they are there).
  • Clean the area rapidly because blood can produce a foul odor that may be distressing to loved ones.
  • Provide support to family members.

Oncology, palliative care, and other units that care for patients at risk for hemorrhage should have supplies (towels, sedatives) and standing orders in place for rapid employment. Support is essential for all members of the health care team, including novice clinicians or nonclinical staff who might be in attendance, such as chaplains or social workers. Team members should be encouraged to verbalize their emotions regarding the experience, and their questions should be answered.

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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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