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What are other signs of death?

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Breathing trouble can be distressing for family members, but often it isn't painful and can be managed. Pain can be treated, too. But your loved one may have a hard time taking medicine by mouth. Hallucinations and visions, especially of long-gone loved ones, can be comforting. If seeing and talking to someone who isn't there makes the person who's dying happier, you don't need to try to convince them that they aren't real. It may upset them and make them argue and fight with you.

SOURCES:

Philip Higgins, MSSW, LICSW, director of palliative care outreach, Adult Palliative Care Service, Dana Farber/Brigham & Women's Cancer Center, Boston.

Ursula Braun, MD, MPH, director, in-patient palliative care unit, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Houston; assistant professor of medicine and medical ethics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

Jennifer Clark, MD, professor of palliative medicine, departments of internal medicine and pediatrics, University of Oklahoma College of Community Medicine, Tulsa.

Andrea Holtzer, RN, palliative care nurse coordinator, St. Mary's Hospital, Amsterdam, NY.

Carol Lovci, RN, MSN, VP, long-term care and special services, San Diego Hospice and The Institute of Palliative Medicine, San Diego.

Byock, I. Dying Well, Riverside Books, 1997.

Hospice Foundation of America. The Dying Process: A Guide for Caregivers, revised, 2007.

Karnes, B. Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience, Barbara Karnes Books Inc., 1986.

Lynn, J. Handbook for Mortals, Oxford University Press, 1999.

Hallenbeck, J. Journal of the American Medical Association, May 11, 2005.

Lynn, J. Annals of Internal Medicine, Jan. 15, 1997.

Morrison, S.R. New England Journal of Medicine, June 17, 2004.

Ohio Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Choices: Living Well at the End of Life, 4th ed., 2004.

Medical College of Wisconsin: "Diagnosis and Treatment of Terminal Delirium, Factsheet," "Syndrome of Imminent Death."

American Geriatrics Society: "Dying at Home."

Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association: "Final Days."

"Hospice Palliative Care Program Symptom Guidelines: Delirium/Restlessness," Fraser Health, 2006.

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on June 13, 2020

SOURCES:

Philip Higgins, MSSW, LICSW, director of palliative care outreach, Adult Palliative Care Service, Dana Farber/Brigham & Women's Cancer Center, Boston.

Ursula Braun, MD, MPH, director, in-patient palliative care unit, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Houston; assistant professor of medicine and medical ethics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston.

Jennifer Clark, MD, professor of palliative medicine, departments of internal medicine and pediatrics, University of Oklahoma College of Community Medicine, Tulsa.

Andrea Holtzer, RN, palliative care nurse coordinator, St. Mary's Hospital, Amsterdam, NY.

Carol Lovci, RN, MSN, VP, long-term care and special services, San Diego Hospice and The Institute of Palliative Medicine, San Diego.

Byock, I. Dying Well, Riverside Books, 1997.

Hospice Foundation of America. The Dying Process: A Guide for Caregivers, revised, 2007.

Karnes, B. Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience, Barbara Karnes Books Inc., 1986.

Lynn, J. Handbook for Mortals, Oxford University Press, 1999.

Hallenbeck, J. Journal of the American Medical Association, May 11, 2005.

Lynn, J. Annals of Internal Medicine, Jan. 15, 1997.

Morrison, S.R. New England Journal of Medicine, June 17, 2004.

Ohio Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Choices: Living Well at the End of Life, 4th ed., 2004.

Medical College of Wisconsin: "Diagnosis and Treatment of Terminal Delirium, Factsheet," "Syndrome of Imminent Death."

American Geriatrics Society: "Dying at Home."

Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association: "Final Days."

"Hospice Palliative Care Program Symptom Guidelines: Delirium/Restlessness," Fraser Health, 2006.

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on June 13, 2020

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