Knowing when someone is near death can help you provide the best support for them, their family, friends, and anyone else who is important to you. It is also helpful for the dying person to plan how they wish to be cared for and treated. It is difficult to know when someone will pass away and it is impossible to tell when they are going to be buried.
Some symptoms or changes can indicate that someone is close to death. They might feel tired or drowsy and may want to sleep more. They may start to drift in and out of consciousness.
Some people may become weaker and less mobile. Sometimes their breathing may become more irregular or shallower. Fluids in the throat and chest might also cause it to become louder.
Some people become quiet and withdrawn while others become more active and restless. People can lose weight and lose appetite, and they may stop drinking and eating altogether.
These changes can be distressing. However, help should always be available to alleviate any discomfort and keep the person comfortable. This section contains more information Help to Stay Comfortable.
You should check on your loved one every day for any signs and symptoms that could indicate that they are near death. Also, be sure to look for signs that the condition is not getting worse.
A member of the care team should explain to someone who is likely to die soon what this means. This can be done in as much detail or not as detailed as they wish. If they choose, they should be able bring the people who are important to them along to this conversation.
It is sometimes difficult to determine how long someone will live. Any uncertainty should be addressed. It is important to allow time for questions as well as time to discuss any anxieties or fears.
This information includes a list of questions people may want to ask.