What are the signs of impending death?

Discussion Board Forums Supportive, Palliative & Hospice Care What are the signs of impending death?

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    My mom is nearing the end but not quit there. She just had a bile drain put in and if she stablizes, she can go home. Can any one tell me about experiences with thesed drains and what to expect after?

    god bless evryone


    My father was just diagnosed, so thankfully we are not at this stage. My family does have experience with it with my grandfather and three of my aunts.

    One thing that is so important is for family members to tell their loved one that it is okay to go. Hospice gave us this advice and it was so true. My aunt hung on for her son and my mom. When they were both gone, I quietly told her what they couldn’t and that she should let go and they would be fine. She died early the next morning.

    Prayers for all.


    My heart goes out to all who are facing the the decline of their loved ones. It might be helpful if those of us who have traveled this road before to reach out by private e-mail to the members requesting assistance in this very personal matter. Gladly, I will share with anyone my experience. Please, feel free to e-mail me, anytime.
    All my love,


    LD –

    My heart aches for you. We are in a similar situation with my Dad, so I have all the same questions. Though I don’t believe we are at the same point – Dad still eats well and has no pain. However, he is very weak, shaky, short of breath most of the time, and mentally confused. Though his doctor sent him to the nursing home with “weeks” to live, predicting fluid would collect again, it has turned into a slow and gradual decline without any swelling so far. So far, he’s in no pain, but it’s difficult watching him get weaker and weaker, not really knowing when the end might be.

    So I’m glad you brought up this question. It helps to know what others have experienced.



    Hi Middlesister,
    It sounds like you and I are in about the same place. Joe has been in hospice for about 10 days now. No rattle yet but the confusion and the swelling are huge. He sleep most of the day but has some lucid periods. We have now limited visitors to just family and that helps a lot. THe nurse said he may just stop breathing and die or he could go into a coma. With Thanksgiving coming we canoot plan anything. We have a daughter getting married at Christmas and the bridal shower is the day afte Thanksgiving but we have to hold evrything with a loose had. Just one day at a time. It is not in our timing. I hope you have family around to help you. I can’t do this by myself. I can’t even move him in the bed alone anymore.
    My prayers are with you as we say goodbye. Mary Anne



    I have been through what you are now experiencing just a few short months ago when my husband passed away and just want you to know that I share your pain and that you & your family are in my thoughts & prayers.



    My sister is almost in her 3rd week of hospice care. Her blood pressure went really low and then it rose again today. She is swollen, and not responsive. The docs gave her 3 days 2 weeks ago. I think I have heard that rattle. This is so very painful. I am home because her children are there. I have to sleep at some point in my own home.
    Blessings to all of you patients, family friends and care givers!



    LisaNZ …. Where do you have to travel from and too? I would check with the airlines or whatever mode of transportation and ask if there is anyway you can travel on a space available standby for humanitarian reasons. Explain the situation. You never know. I have seen it happen before with a letter from the doctor verifying condition. Do you have something called the Red Cross or similiar Organization? Give them a try.
    God Bless,
    Jeff G.

    LisaNZ wrote:
    Hi everyone

    My Mum was diagnosed 2 months ago, and already my Father thinks she is close to the end. I’m terribly frightened and can’t be with her as I live overseas. She hasn’t eaten properly for over a month, in the last week she’s eaten almost nothing. She is skin and bone, and rarely gets up. On a few occasions she has had an accident in the bed as she couldn’t get up. My Dad thinks she won’t be here in another 2 weeks time. She is also very agitated and becoming quite aggressive which is something she’s never done before.

    I desperately want to go home to see her, but I have no money to travel at the moment. I’m trying to save money so I can go but I don’t think she is going to last that long.


    LD…I’m so sorry to hear your husband is close to the end of life. I really feel at this stage all family and loved ones probally should have visited and shared their last loving moments. Trying to determine what day or hour someone is going to pass is something that does not happen very often. Quite often a person will hold on to life for every possible moment until a loved one lets them know it is okay, they will always be loved and they may rest peacefully now. It’s not uncommon for someone passing to look or await for those words of reassurance. The last sounds or hints are so different for everyone. LD, the children should understand the timing of someone dying is not an exact science. Trying to rush for the final breath puts your children and others at risk for an accident. It is such an emotional time for all. May your husband rest peacefully until the it’s time to go. I’m sure Hospice Staff will do their best.
    God Bless,
    Jeff G.


    The day before my husband died he stopped eating and drinking completely.
    At that point I called my children I just had a feeling.

    The night before he also passed stools that were black and tarry (sign of internal bleeding) and he had a very swollen abdomen and less swollen feet and ankles. Unlike Joyce’s experience there was very little sign that he was about to die in the few minutes before. He vomited and then stared at me very intently and then looked off into the distance as if he was seeing something else, and then fell back on the pillow and died.

    Don’t hesitate to call your children, they would want to be there and he would want to see them.

    Be strong and all my best wishes are for you and your family. May your husband have a peaceful death with all he loved around him.


    Oh, I feel so terrible for you! It breaks my heart. I, too, had to do the death watch for my mother (age 64), and was frantically trying to get answers as to when the end was near. A week before my mother’s death, the swelling in her legs got much worse and worked up to her abdomen more, even to her behind and hips, and fluid started leaking through the pores in her legs. Hospice told me that was a sign of the end, but she seemed the same otherwise, so I didn’t believe them. Then, one night, she suddenly sat up and said, “Something’s wrong!” and started vomiting black bile. Then she had to go to the bathroom for the first time in days and had a bm. My mother’s dear friend told me to call the hospice nurse right then, saying she knew that your body will purge itself of all its fluids in preparation for death. The hospice nurse came and looked at my mother, who was sleeping but still conscious a few hours a day, and said my mother would definitely die within 48 hours. She was absolutely right. She based this on looking at my mother’s fingernails – she said they were turning blue underneath, but I couldn’t really see it – and on her shallow breathing and low blood pressure. She told us to watch for the “death rattle” – a terrible-sounding breathing that most people have at the end of life, sometimes only for a few minutes, sometimes for hours. My mother got that gurgly kind of rattling breathing shortly thereafter and she went on like that for 4-5 hours, but it got louder and then I knew it was soon. For the last few minutes of her life, her breathing suddenly got much quieter, so I knew a change was happening, then she just gasped her last few breaths and she was gone.

    The night before she died she also had confusion and tried to get up and got agitated, which we were told to expect, and hospice gave me some kind of pill to give her to calm her down. That may also be a sign of the end.

    I’m telling you this because I know how desperately I was looking for signs of the end, and I couldn’t find any answers. But everyone is different, even in the way they die, so I don’t know if this information is much help to you.

    I hope for a peaceful passing for your dear husband and I pray for peace for you and your grieving family. My heart goes out to you.
    – Joyce


    My 64 year old husband is now in hospice care. He was sent home frome the hospital the end of June and told that he only had days to live. Our 6 children all rushed home ( 4 of them live out of state, 600 to 2000 miles from home). We had a good week together, but due to jobs, families, etc. they all had to return to their own homes and have since been sitting on pins and needles awaiting a call from me. They call every day to check in, they love their father very much and want to be here for him, but can’t.
    We were told that he would slide into a coma and within 72 hours be gone. Over the last few weeks, he has had days here and there where he was pretty unresponsive and slept all day and then late afternoon, he would wake up and be alert and want to move about. His feet, legs, and abdomen were badly swollen, and the hospice nurse has kept telling us he just has days left. The only thing I can think is that because his body was in excellent health except for the cancer, that it is helping him hang in there longer, I don”t know. I love him and don’t want to lose him but I can’t handle watching him die by inches either. The swelling went away in his legs and feet, but his abdomen is very swollen, he is getting weeker and more confused all the time, for the last week and a half he has spent all but maybe 2 hours a day asleep in his hospital bed. He has periods of restlessness which scare me to death because he wants to be up an about, but even with a walker, he has fallen several times and I am afraid he will break something and make things even worse for himself. He has had a few bad episodes of pain , but for the most part we are keeping it under controll. Is there a way to know if it truly is a coma or something that will let me know the time has come for sure to call my children and not be like the Boy calling Wolf”. This is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced, I watched both of my parents die, but this is my spouse, my whole world has been built around him and our children. I am trying to stay strong, but this is so hard. Life has been a nightmare since Jan 2007 when his first major attack of pain occured, things have never gotten even half way back to normal since,

    I would really appreciate any input you may have.
    Thank you,

Viewing 12 posts - 16 through 27 (of 27 total)
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