clipart of man scratching his head What are the signs and symptoms of imminent death?

Dying is a process, a natural slowing down of the body's systems. This process is different for each and every individual and the duration may vary from hours to days.

You may have already noticed such changes as decreased appetite and mobility. As death approaches, body functions will continue to change.

When death is imminent, you will begin noticing physical changes:

There may be a change in responsiveness (more difficult to arouse, increased restlessness or agitation). Even though the patient is unresponsive, please remember hearing is very acute. Do continue communicating verbally and through touch.

Usually the patient will have difficulty in swallowing and may refuse liquids and/or medications.

There may be changes in urinary function, i.e., retention, incontinence and/or reduced output.

A temperature elevation is not unusual at this time.

Breathing may become more labored, noisy, and irregular, but this does not mean that the patient is having distress or discomfort.

The extremities (arms/hands and legs/feet) may become cooler to touch and may take on a bluish tinge. This is due to slowing of circulation.



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