Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Palliative Care Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Excessive Sleepiness and Weakness as Death Approaches

As death approaches, you may sleep more and may be more difficult to arouse. Periods of wakefulness tend to be shorter.

As death nears, your caregivers will notice that you do not respond at all, that you appear to be in a deep sleep. This condition is known as a coma. When you are in a coma, you will be confined to bed, and all physical needs (such as bathing, turning, and bowel and bladder care) will be taken care of by someone else.

General weakness is also very common as you approach death. It is not unusual to need additional assistance walking, bathing, and using the toilet. Eventually, you may need help turning over in bed.

Medical equipment such as a wheelchair, walker, and hospital bed can be very helpful at this time. This equipment can be rented from a medical supply company or provided by a hospice program.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Shelly R. Garone, MD - Palliative Medicine
Last Revised July 12, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 12, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Nurse with patient
Article
Grieving father and daughter
Article
 
Computer search
Article
Nurse with patient
Article
 
Nurse with patient
Article
Doctor with patient
Article
 
Nurse talking to older man
Article
A caring hand
Article
 
In hospital with child
Article
Child with grandmother
Article
 
Man comfortable in nursing home
Article
Concerned doctor
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections