Saturday, August 17, 2013

Individual Needs of a Dying Older Person and Family

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 a dying person is 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 show  how grateful you are for being part of their lives. Respect the resident’s last wishes. Fulfil 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There will come a time in the course of many diseases when further medical help are no longer applicable in improving the person’s condition.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: lencilicious (also known as real lady)
Photo Courtesy of Roger Rössing and Renate Rössing


  1. Every person deserves to die with dignity so we have to respect their person and at least minimize their sufferings by providing them some extraordinary care and comforts.

  2. I once witnessed a dying person (maternal grandma), it was hard watching her. Family support is very important on this moment.

  3. this is a very good advice and tips to everybody who's experiencing it already or in the near future! I have my old father in law already and we always make sure that he feels we love him no m atter what!

  4. Talks and preparation about dying are slowly becoming acceptable in the Filipino culture when before it was almost taboo.

  5. It's hard to see a family with such condition, breaks my heart. I remember my lola when she was dying, at our home, and I really can't bear seeing her. I don't even know what to do, I was helpless.

  6. Whew, thinking about this makes me sad, but I know these are things I need to know I might use someday :(

  7. Perfect last deeds for a dying patient.. But , did you know I once was assigned to minister to dying brethren. The feeling was just so kakalungkot.

  8. To see a dying person is so painful.


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