What Are the End-of-Life Signs When in Hospice Care?


Quick Answer

End-of-life signs in patients in hospice care generally involve changes in metabolism, decreasing blood flow and the body's decreasing ability to use food and fluids, according to AgingCare.com. Not all people exhibit every symptom typical of approaching death.

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Metabolism slows as the end of life draws near, and those who are dying often sleep for increasing periods of time and become drowsy or unresponsive, states AgingCare.com. Metabolic changes sometimes cause restlessness, confusion and agitation. Kidney function also slows down causing decreased urine production or darkening of urine.

Decreased circulation, particularly to the extremities, can cause a dying person's skin to become cool to the touch and take on a bluish color, reports AgingCare.com. Patients usually don't experience being cold even if the skin feels cool. Decreased circulation also causes a reduced amount of oxygen to reach the brain, sometimes resulting in people becoming withdrawn and unwilling to socialize toward the end of life.

Decreased circulation and fluid consumption can cause congestion in breathing passages resulting in a gurgling or rattling as a dying person breathes, reports AgingCare.com. Breathing often becomes irregular and shallow, or alternates between rapid and slow. Changes in heart rate are another typical sign of the end of life.

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