Death and Dying

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Death is the one great certainty in life. Some of us will die in ways out of our control, and most of us will be unaware of the moment of death itself. Still, death and dying well can be approached in a healthy way. Understanding that people differ in how they think about death and dying, and respecting those differences, can promote a peaceful death and a healthy manner of dying.

The primary course of action when death is near is to fulfill the dying person's wishes. If the person is dying from an illness, ideally, they will have participated in decisions about how to live and die. If the requests made do not seem practical to the caregiver, options should be raised with the dying individual to try to accommodate his request and still provide adequate care. If the dying individual has not been able to participate in formulating final plans, you should strive to do what this person would want.

If the individual is in a hospice, he may most likely desire a natural death. In this situation, the aim will be for the final days and moments of life to be guided toward maintaining comfort and reaching a natural death.

Death and Dying. Last reviewed 07/01/2008

Sources:

  • The Significance of Dying Well. Illness, Crisis & Loss
  • British Medical Journal
  • You Cannot Die Alone Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Death and Dying: Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
  • A Dying Person's Guide to Dying, Roger C. Bone, M.D. The American College of Physicians
  • American College of Physicians; What to Do Before and After the Moment of Death.
  • Hospice Patients Alliance
  • Harvard Adhoc Committee on Brain Death