Here are some points for you to bear in mind when you are caring for a person at the end of his/her life.
- Be present with compassion.
- Visit regularly.
- Move slowly and quietly.
Caring and comfort
- Moisten the lips, mouth and eyes. Offer sips of liquid to drink.
- Keep the patient clean and dry, and prepare for leakage from the bowel (faeces) and bladder (urine).
- Provide physical contact by light touch. Hold the person's hand, listen and converse if they want to talk.
- Reassure the patient that eating less is alright; don't make them eat if they don't want to.
Medication and symptom control
- Only give essential medication — anti-diarrhoeal remedies, and paracetamol to treat pain or fever. Make sure pain is controlled.
- Help the patient control other symptoms by ensuring that medical treatment prescribed by the doctor is taken at the right times and in the right dosages.
- Skin care requires the patient to be turned every two hours, or more frequently, as already described in Section 30.4.2.