Don’t lose the chance for peace at the end of life

Brothers togetherPatients and families often hold on too long to the possibility of improvement or cure for their terminal illness. This delays the transition to peace, comfort and end-of-life care.*

In doing this, they may miss the opportunity to have time near the end of life for peace, comfort, support and dignity — with the focus on quality of life and meeting the emotional and spiritual needs of the family. They may miss out on meaningful conversations, fulfilling wishes and sharing stories and laughter.

How can you know that it’s time to switch to peace, comfort and end-of-life care?

1. Ask one or more members of the medical team: “Would you be surprised if [Mom] died within the next 30 days?”
2. Look for one or more of these signs that a person has 30 days or less to live:

  • Is no longer able to swallow safely.
  • Is no longer eating or interested in eating.
  • Has become incontinent — when they hadn’t been before.
  • Their blood pressure drops from their normal range.
  • They sleep most of the time.
  • Sees or converses with persons or pets who are not present.
  • Their heart rate speeds up or slows down from their normal rate.
  • Increased swelling of extremities or the entire body.
  • Hands, arms, feet, legs now cold, purplish or blotchy.
  • Cancer patient has increase in pain.
  • Kidney patient has stopped dialysis.

* People sign up for hospice much later than they should. Based on the most recently reported data (for 2017) from three prominent nearby hospices, 27% to 41% of their hospice patients die within seven days of starting hospice services, and 52% to 72% die within 30 days.

Provided by Caring House | Torrance, CA

310-796-6625 ext. 2 | | RCFE #198602078

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