Physical Decline2019-11-15T18:41:14+00:00

Approaching the End-of-Life

Just as life experiences are unique to the individual, it is important to recognize that the experience of physical decline, death, and dying is unique as well. Residents will decline in their own time and manner. Their signs and symptoms will vary. As a care provider it can be a challenge to adapt to these differences. In order to provide the best possible care to your residents it is essential to be aware of the consistent changes that take place during this critical time. These changes include:

One to Six Months Prior to Death

  • May withdraw from friends and family

  • Spends more time sleeping

  • Gradual decrease in eating and fluid intake

One to Two Weeks Prior to Death

  • Sleeps most of the time but can be aroused

  • Skin color may begin to change

  • Blood pressure may begin to decrease

  • Continued decrease in foods and fluids

  • Breathing changes occur

One to Two Days Prior to Death

  • Often has difficulty in, or inability to swallow

  • Blood pressure often decreases

  • Often see apnea (pauses in breathing)

  • Congestion or respiratory secretions can occur

  • May become restless

  • May sleep most of the time

  • May notice mottling (blotchiness to skin)

  • Sometimes has a surge of energy or alertness

  • Body temperature fluctuates

  • May or may not have pain

In order to provide the best possible care to your residents it is essential to be
aware of the consistent changes that take place during this
critical time.

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