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  • FIRST POST
    • Stoodles
    • By Stoodles 16th Oct 19, 10:03 PM
    • 753Posts
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    Stoodles
    How to tell if someone is dying
    • #1
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:03 PM
    How to tell if someone is dying 16th Oct 19 at 10:03 PM
    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?
Page 1
    • suki1964
    • By suki1964 16th Oct 19, 10:11 PM
    • 12,293 Posts
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    suki1964
    • #2
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:11 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:11 PM
    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
    if you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it
    • elsien
    • By elsien 16th Oct 19, 10:13 PM
    • 20,029 Posts
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    elsien
    • #3
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:13 PM
    • #3
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:13 PM
    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.
    • Stoodles
    • By Stoodles 16th Oct 19, 10:20 PM
    • 753 Posts
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    Stoodles
    • #4
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:20 PM
    • #4
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:20 PM
    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
    Last edited by Stoodles; 16-10-2019 at 11:01 PM.
    • POPPYOSCAR
    • By POPPYOSCAR 16th Oct 19, 10:33 PM
    • 12,957 Posts
    • 28,925 Thanks
    POPPYOSCAR
    • #5
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:33 PM
    • #5
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:33 PM
    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.
    Last edited by POPPYOSCAR; 16-10-2019 at 10:36 PM.
    • BrassicWoman
    • By BrassicWoman 16th Oct 19, 10:48 PM
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    BrassicWoman
    • #6
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:48 PM
    • #6
    • 16th Oct 19, 10:48 PM
    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.
    May 19 grocery challenge £100.79/ £200
    • MumOf2
    • By MumOf2 16th Oct 19, 11:18 PM
    • 568 Posts
    • 978 Thanks
    MumOf2
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 19, 11:18 PM
    • #7
    • 16th Oct 19, 11:18 PM
    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
    x
    MumOf4
    Quit Date: 20th November 2009, 7pm

    • MumOf2
    • By MumOf2 16th Oct 19, 11:19 PM
    • 568 Posts
    • 978 Thanks
    MumOf2
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 19, 11:19 PM
    • #8
    • 16th Oct 19, 11:19 PM
    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.
    Originally posted by BrassicWoman
    Thank you so much for your wise words, BrassicWoman. A comfort indeed.

    MumOf2
    x
    MumOf4
    Quit Date: 20th November 2009, 7pm

    • onwards&upwards
    • By onwards&upwards 17th Oct 19, 9:04 AM
    • 1,296 Posts
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    onwards&upwards
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 19, 9:04 AM
    • #9
    • 17th Oct 19, 9:04 AM
    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
    Originally posted by suki1964

    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.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 17th Oct 19, 9:18 AM
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    PasturesNew
    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.
    • Stoodles
    • By Stoodles 17th Oct 19, 4:07 PM
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    Stoodles
    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.
    • polki
    • By polki 17th Oct 19, 4:56 PM
    • 516 Posts
    • 494 Thanks
    polki
    I cannot add to what has already been said, but I have been in your position and my thoughts are with you and your loved ones.

    Take care of yourself and take comfort that you are doing your best in a very difficult situation.
    • svain
    • By svain 18th Oct 19, 3:27 PM
    • 462 Posts
    • 862 Thanks
    svain
    Having cared for my wife at home until she died. The biggest tell-tale was her breathing quickened and became very shallow .... This lasted for two-three days (from memory) and then she passed. I was out the house (dentist) when it actually happened and it bothered me for a short while that i wasn't with her at the point of passing but it wasnt something i let hold me down for long. The bigger picture was the important thing
    Last edited by svain; 18-10-2019 at 5:57 PM.
    • Skiddaw1
    • By Skiddaw1 18th Oct 19, 4:48 PM
    • 277 Posts
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    Skiddaw1
    It's not uncommon for death to occur when the person is (often briefly) alone. It's quite a well-known phenomena. My sister died when we'd popped out of the room to grab a coffee and my father died very shortly after we'd left the nursing home (everyone expected him to go on for a day or two longer). I was actually with my mum at the moment she died. Her breathing changed quite suddenly and then stopped.



    Whenever and however it happens, I hope her passing is gentle and easy.
    • seven-day-weekend
    • By seven-day-weekend 18th Oct 19, 7:14 PM
    • 33,853 Posts
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    seven-day-weekend
    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.
    Originally posted by onwards&upwards
    This happened to me, my adopted mum died just after I had left to go home to have a meal and a shower.

    I think sometimes they just don't want loved ones to see them die.
    Member #10 of £2 savers club
    Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology: Terry Eagleton
    • swingaloo
    • By swingaloo 19th Oct 19, 8:05 PM
    • 2,131 Posts
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    swingaloo
    My mother in law was not expected to make it through the night but the following morning she seemed so much better and asked me to call her hairdresser but then suddenly deteriorated later in the day and just went to sleep.

    My dad on the other hand was on end of life care in the hospital and they had told us they were just keeping him sedated and comfortable. I rang his brothers and told them that the end was near (as we had had several false alarms over a couple of weeks but I said I thought this time it was definite) and they travelled overnight to see him. The following morning I had to meet them at the hospital entrance and explain that he was now sat up chatting and eating soup!

    Ive had 4 people close to me pass away in the last 5 years and each time they have seemed to rally round a few hours before the end. I actually left the house to get some shopping when my mother in law died as I was convinced she was not in immediate danger and felt so guilty as I was not there right at the end.

    I also think that they know when to let go and will hold on to see someone they want to say goodbye to. Its very hard to deal with, take care of yourself.
    • Stoodles
    • By Stoodles 22nd Oct 19, 10:25 AM
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    Stoodles
    Thanks so much for all your replies. So many deeply personal moments, and I'm grateful you were able to share them.


    Mother has recovered somewhat but is still in bed. She is now able to get to the loo with her walking frame and the assistance of only one person. She tried sitting in her chair yesterday, but that was too tiring.


    As she refuses to go to hospital we are trying to put together enough carers to support her round the clock. She has three visits a day from the NHS, to do dressings and personal care, but she isn't happy to be left for more than 30 minutes. The emergency care organisation are waiting to pass her on to one of two other bodies, but they need to know first whether her prognosis is under 3 weeks, up to 3 months or longer. Bizarrely, the doctors say only one person can make that decision and they are on holiday for a week. I have a feeling there is conflict between the two organisations, as they seem very willing to tell me to tell the other to do X,Y or Z, but unable to co-operate to achieve it.



    The cracks in the health and care system are really showing. Yesterday I spoke with Social Services to get a list of possible overnight care agencies, and was told to call back later if none were available. When I called back the phone was answered by someone who said "If you are calling about something non-life threatening you have to ring off and call back tomorrow". Not a recorded message, but a real person who was determined to get me off the line.


    We contacted 32 agencies yesterday. In the end the only way round it was to get back to Social Services, insist she was in danger if left at night and agree to be invoiced for it without any financial assessment, and for her to agree to have a male carer. So we have three nights, and I'm about to start looking for the next four, and then for someone to live in. If I was a 90 year old woman I'd be uncomfortable being left all night with a male carer who was taking me to the loo and sitting in my bedroom, but thank goodness she was brave enough to overcome that.



    The NHS say they should be providing the overnight person, but they only have one, and she has been moved to the mobile night team as they are short handed.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 22nd Oct 19, 11:00 AM
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    elsien
    It's all a bit of a minefield, isn't it. I'm pleased for you that mum is rallying.
    Just to forewarn you, it is unlikely that either the LA or the NHS will agree to fund overnight care or a live-in carer for any length of time. If mum is able to fund it herself, that's one option but if she and you can't afford it you need to start preparing yourselves for a plan B.
    It may not come to that, but forewarned is forearmed.
    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.
    • Stoodles
    • By Stoodles 22nd Oct 19, 11:11 AM
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    Stoodles
    Yes, we're happy to fund it, and already are because that is the only way to make it happen. But it's hard to find anyone, and it is very frustrating when we know that right now the NHS agree they should be doing it but don't have capacity. Her condition is still bad enough that they would take her straight to hospital if she would go, so it's a health issue not a social care one.


    Apparently we need to ask for a Continuing Care Assessment, but that can take an age to get sorted. Meanwhile we are very lucky that we can afford to throw money at the situation to fix it. I can't imagine how an elderly person without that resource or anyone to chase things up copes.
    Last edited by Stoodles; 22-10-2019 at 11:54 AM.
    • Skiddaw1
    • By Skiddaw1 22nd Oct 19, 1:26 PM
    • 277 Posts
    • 404 Thanks
    Skiddaw1
    It's a bit of a mare isn't it? Can't add anything constructive Stoodles, but please accept a hug from me.
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