Pain Management

Symptom Management
Common Symptoms:
Bowel Management
Nausea and Vomiting
Terminal Phase
Changing Awareness
Altered Elimination
Respiratory Changes
Agitation or Restlessness
Signs of Impending Death
Caregiver Support

The Terminal Phase of Illness

Changing Awareness
In the final weeks and days of the illness, the dying patient tends to take more frequent short naps, or moments of a change in awareness. Upon awakening or returning awareness, the patient may relate experiences of vivid dreams or waking visions. These experiences often involve themes of “going home”, taking a journey, or seeing relatives that have passed away previously talking to them. There are instances of patients relating a need to “pack my bags” or put on a coat and hat after a dream/vision occurrence. Sometimes religious figures or symbols are envisioned, or a door is seen that must be passed through. These are normal phenomena that are usually comforting to the patient. The caregiver should be prepared for these experiences as an expected part of the dying process so they can listen without fear and encourage the patient share their dreams.