How Do You Know When A Terminally ill Person Is Dying?

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Undoubtedly, knowing death is at the door for a terminally ill loved one can be hard to admit. People react to such news differently. Some feel helpless and hopeless, and others wish they could take the pain away or make things better. It is usually a tough time for family and friends. In a bid to evade these emotions, sometimes, terminally ill persons may fail to open up about their diagnosis. Some may decide to leave their homes for a hospital or an adult care facility like SilverStone Hospice. These are relevant to all forms of palliative care, including lung-disease palliative care. You can also join a hospice volunteer service.

There are many ways that terminally ill people react to the news that they are dying. Some of the common changes that may point to this include;

Reduced Appetite

Typically, humans need to feed on a balanced diet because they expend energy like all living things. However, a terminally ill person may have a lot on “their plate.” They are occupied with the thought of their diagnosis, and this can rob them of their appetite. Depending on the type of terminal illness, they may also experience slower metabolism. This means that their body breaks down food a lot slower compared to a healthy person. This can cause them to lose their appetite frequently. Of course, with lowered food intake, they may begin to look emaciated and lose weight drastically. 

As a caregiver, it is your job to keep them well hydrated and fed. Their appetite may have diminished, but they still need food and nourishment to keep them alive.

Increased Sleep Time

This is usually due to a lack of energy. The low energy level may directly result from their lack of appetite or the terminal illness’s effects. Terminally ill people may feel weaker and uninterested in activities. They usually prefer to lay down or sleep. As the caregiver, you must help them remain comfortable while they sleep. You should also help them out of bed or periodically change their sleeping positions to prevent pressure sores. Light physical activities should be incorporated into their daily activities as this helps with their digestive system and immune systems. 

Keeping to Themselves

This is an obvious sign seen in most terminally ill patients. Most terminally ill patients speak less frequently as a result of disinterest or fatigue. They may also appear to be lost in thought. These signs are associated with low energy levels and a decline in their general health and wellness. You may find that they are also wary of people seeing them in that weakened and lean state. 

Change in Vital Body Functions

When someone is on their deathbed, it is not uncommon to see their vital body functions deteriorate. The most common sign is respiratory difficulty. Their breathing tends to become short and labored. They may also experience a faster heart rate, cardiac arrest, deteriorating renal function, and more. All these are signs of the body trying to compensate for damages that may result in its collapse. 

Change in Bowel Habit

Due to the drastic reduction in appetite and bowel content, terminally ill people may reduce their toilet visits. The hospice might provide a way of reducing the discomfort associated with bowel movements as the symptoms progress. Eventually, the person might cease to defecate or urinate for an extended period. 

Extremes in Body Temperature

Usually, blood circulation is responsible for maintaining your body and organ temperature. However, a sick person will experience a drastic drop or rise in their body temperature. This is because the brain signals the body to divert the main blood supply to vital organs as a survival tactic. This may cause the hands and feet to feel clammy and cold to the touch. 

Loss of Muscular Strength

Terminally ill people might experience weak muscle mass. This may happen because of several reasons. One of these reasons is that their body is directing its energy to support vital organs. Or the body is simply reducing body mass due to the reduction of food and energy.  This may rob them of the strength needed to lift items or perform basic tasks.


Persistent sensory experience despite the absence of a stimulus is known as hallucination. It might be in the form of hearing or seeing things that are not there. It can also be in the form of a strange smell or the feeling of something touching their body. It is important to note that the brain may still function perfectly after episodes of hallucinations. You may begin to notice incoherent actions and other strange behaviors for those whose brain capabilities have been affected.

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