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Individual Needs of a Dying Older Person and Family

Doctors, nurses and other carers can play an important role during the final days of life, but their advice and treatments will not be geared toward extending life.

Photo Courtesy of Roger Rössing and Renate Rössing

Doctors, nurses and other carers can play an important role during the final days of life, but their advice and treatments will not be geared toward extending life. But they can give relief to whatever discomfort they are experiencing. In terms of physical needs of a dying person, a carer should be ready and able to attend those needs. This is a way of keeping the person as safe, comfortable, and secure as possible. Examples of these are:

·         adjusting the temperature of the room to the person’s needs

·         control any smells that the person may sense

·         make the bed as comfortable as possible

·         provide mouth care

·         find best way to give medicines

·         decrease discomfort from fevers

·         look for signs of bedsores particularly in places where bones are prominent, such as buttocks, heels, hips and elbows

·         serve what or she wants to eat

This act of taking care of the residents who are dying is a very great help for the family members as well. For they see their love ones dying with less pain due to the physical problems.

Comforting a dying person is the emotional help the care assistant and family can give. Being there with the dying residents put away their fear of abandonment, especially when their loved ones are there to keep them company like talking, watching movies or simply reading together. Listening to whatever they want to share is also helpful. Do not hide information to the older person. It is important that they still have control in everything if possible. Appreciate the life of the person and how grateful you are being part of their lives. Respect the resident’s last wishes. Fulfill them if possible. Always respect the need for privacy.

There will come a time in the course of many diseases when further medical help are no longer applicable in improving the person’s condition. At this point, you may need to discuss to the older person and the family whether they want or not further medical treatment like resuscitation.  If the decision is ‘NO’, make sure that everyone who is helping care for the person knows that no more emergency treatments needed. When the person is obviously nearing the end of life, calling “911″ will likely result in further discomfort to the dying.

by real lady 01/03/11

Other articles about Care of the Older Person:

Range of needs of the older-people

Holistic approach in healthcare

Positive approach in caring for the-elderly

Asthma in older people

Healthy ageing

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  1. good one

  2. true friend. nice sharing.

  3. Informative post.

  4. another very good topic Real Lady

  5. Unfortunately, I had more than one experiences like this. Good article, I wish I had read something like this during those periods.

  6. thanks for this article

  7. Good advice. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I know that when my mother was at the end of life, everyone in the nursing home was advised and one by one they visited her to say their “goodbyes.” It was truly an emotional and touching moment for all of us.

  9. It’s hard to say goodbye.

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