Linda Emanuel, MD, PhD; Frank D. Ferris, MD; Charles F. von Gunten, MD, PhD; Jamie H. von Roenn, MD
Introduction to the Last Hours of Living
Clinical competence, willingness to educate, and calm and empathic reassurance are critical to helping patients and families during a loved one's last hours of living. Clinical issues that commonly arise in the last hours of living include the management of feeding and hydration, changes in consciousness, delirium, pain, breathlessness, and secretions. Management principles are the same whether the patient is at home or in a healthcare institution. However, death in an institution requires accommodations that may not be customary to assure privacy, cultural observances, and communication. In anticipation of the event, inform the family and other professionals about what to do and what to expect. Care does not end until the family has been supported with their grief reactions and those with complicated grief have been helped to get care.
"Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay nor an offence for which people should be penalised. but a misfortune. The cost of which should be shared by the commmunity. " ~Aneuryn Bevan. Founder of the NHS
"I felt that no boy should have to depend either for his leg or his life upon the ability of his parents to raise enough money to bring a first-class surgeon to his bedside."
This site is for information only, and should be used to help you navigate healthcare and finding more health information. The best source of medical information is your family physician or pharmacist.