Caregiver's Guide.doc - Physical/Emotional Symptoms and...

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Physical/Emotional Symptoms and Appropriate Comfort Measures A. Diminishing Appetite Page 2 B. Decreased Socialization Page 2 C. Sleeping Page 2 E. Changes in Pain Level Page 2 D. Incontinence Page 2 F. Disorientation Page 3 G. Restlessness Page 3 H. Coolness and Skin Color Changes Page 3 I. Breathing Pattern Change Page 3 J. Congestion Page 3 K. Fever Page 3 L. Withdrawal Page 4 M. Vision-like Experiences Page 4 N. Surge/Rally Page 4 O. Unusual Communication Page 4 Summary of What to Expect Page 4 1
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Physical/Emotional Symptoms and Appropriate Comfort Measures A. Diminishing Appetite When a body begins the dying process, hunger and thirst are not experienced in the same way that a healthy body does. As a result, it is natural for your loved one to experience a decreased appetite, to state food no longer tastes good, or to have no interest in eating meals. Typically, meats are the first food groups to no longer be appealing followed by fruits and vegetables. A person’s diet may eventually become soft foods and then liquids only. Although a loss of appetite may be one of the most difficult things for family members to accept, it is okay for a patient not to eat. In fact, eating may only cause more discomfort for the patient. Appropriate Comfort Measures: • Do not force them to ingest food and fluids. • Offer small, frequent snacks of the types of food being requested. • Sponge swabs moistened with cool water or a favorite beverage can keep the mouth and lips moist and comfortable. Remember that appetite is the best indicator of what the body needs and can tolerate. B. Socialization Your loved one may want to be alone, with few friends, family or just you. It is natural to feel this way when one is growing weak and tired. This is how some people prepare for the separation that death brings. The important thing is to be aware of what the dying person wants. Appropriate Comfort Measures: • Limit visits to those the person wants to see. • Recommend short visits. • It is not always important to talk with the person; holding a hand can be all that is needed.
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