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How to tell if someone is dying

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StoodlesStoodles Forumite
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We've had several sets of nurses and paramedics out today, and the last ones said they thought my mother was dying and would probably slip away during the night.


But now my brother/sister in law are here she seems to have rallied and is talking almost coherently to them. The rest of the family have to decide whether to travel overnight, and I don't know what to advise them.



Can anyone suggest any signs to look for?
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Replies

  • suki1964suki1964 Forumite
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    No one can tell you the signs, they are so different for everyone

    When MIL died, one daughter and SIL had decided to go home as it was felt she would last through the night, they got home to the phone call that she had passed 20 mins after they had left

    If family want to say their goodbyes, a day too soon is better then 20 mins too late
  • elsienelsien Forumite
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    Sometimes people do rally a little before they pass away.
    If you are unsure then perhaps people should travel anyway.
    My sibling has always regretted waiting till the morning when a grandparent was dying because they were advised it could wait till then. Sadly, they them did not arrive in time.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • edited 16 October 2019 at 10:01PM
    StoodlesStoodles Forumite
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    edited 16 October 2019 at 10:01PM
    So far two have made decisions - one is driving, alone, and another has just flown from the other side of the world and needs to sleep first.


    I've contacted the Community Team,as they were respecting the DNAR, but now it looks as though it may be a question of life enhancing rather than life sustaining treatment
  • edited 16 October 2019 at 9:36PM
    POPPYOSCARPOPPYOSCAR Forumite
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    edited 16 October 2019 at 9:36PM
    Sorry to hear that.

    When my brother was dying I was away on holiday in this country.

    I got a call at 6.00am to say he did not have much longer.

    We packed up and went straight there

    He passed away at around 1.00pm.

    I am glad I went straight away and got to say my last goodbyes to him as heartbreaking as it was.

    When I got a call to say my niece was dying I was due to visit the next morning everyone thought she had a couple of weeks or so left.

    Sadly she passed that same night so I never got to say goodbye.
  • BrassicWomanBrassicWoman Forumite
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    I believe it is how you have lived your life with someone your whole relationship, that counts, not if you are there in the final moments.

    Please don't stress too much about this. Be kind to yourself.
    2021 GC £106.35/ £2400
  • MumOf2MumOf2 Forumite
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    Warning - description of physical signs that death is nearing.

    There isn't one universal sign or set of signs that someone is near the end, although a common warning is when a person's breathing pattern changes. It's called Cheyne-Stokes respiration and generally consists of normal inhalation and exhalation followed by a pause after breathing out, sometimes quite a long one, before the next inhalation. It can be subtle to start with but the pauses get longer over time. This can start anything from a few hours or a few days before the end comes with the last exhalation. It's more common if someone is slowly ebbing away rather than having suffered a trauma or very sudden death. Breathing may also sound raspy or rattly or as if someone is snoring,

    Another sign often seen is relaxation of the muscles keeping the mouth closed so a person's jaw drops.

    But all these may be absent and the end may come unexpectedly. We have waited with someone over several days knowing that life was ending soon, then when the end actually came it was a total shock as there was an exhalation and then just nothing. And someone else just slipped into a coma which became deeper over several hours until the end came.

    Whatever happens, I send warmest thoughts to you and hope you will all find strength together.

    MumOf2
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  • MumOf2MumOf2 Forumite
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    I believe it is how you have lived your life with someone your whole relationship, that counts, not if you are there in the final moments.

    Please don't stress too much about this. Be kind to yourself.

    Thank you so much for your wise words, BrassicWoman. A comfort indeed.

    MumOf2
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  • onwards&upwardsonwards&upwards Forumite
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    suki1964 wrote: »
    No one can tell you the signs, they are so different for everyone

    When MIL died, one daughter and SIL had decided to go home as it was felt she would last through the night, they got home to the phone call that she had passed 20 mins after they had left

    If family want to say their goodbyes, a day too soon is better then 20 mins too late


    I think that’s actually quite common, as if the dying person ‘hangs on’ as long as their loved one is around for their sake but slips away quite soon after they leave.
  • PasturesNewPasturesNew Forumite
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    I was asked by a Doctor in a small Hospice at 4pm what I'd want to do when the time came (be there/not), even they didn't know when.... they'd been nursing/minding the patient for the previous 11 days.

    2 hours later I got a call "it's time" and I went there at 7pm, I left at midnight .... no change in that time. I returned at 11am the next day and it ended up being 2pm the following day.

    Nobody can tell.
  • StoodlesStoodles Forumite
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    Her rally has been sustained, and now mum is able to be propped up in bed, eat a little and talk with only intermittent confusion. W are in a confusing world of different nursing and care organisations and don't know what might happen.
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