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DEATH AND DYING Emotional and Physiologic Elements of Death and Dying.

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Presentation on theme: "DEATH AND DYING Emotional and Physiologic Elements of Death and Dying."— Presentation transcript:

1 DEATH AND DYING Emotional and Physiologic Elements of Death and Dying

2 EMOTIONAL TRANSITIONS AT LIFE’S END Although there are many theories about the emotional transitions encountered by dying people, the best known is.....

3 ELISABETH KUBLER-ROSS Landmark work entitled On Death and Dying Identified five emotional stages experienced by dying individuals

4 FIVE EMOTIONAL STAGES Denial - patients may say “no not me” Anger - patients may say “why me?” Bargaining - patients may say “Yes, but...” Depression - patients may say “It is me” Acceptance - patients may say “It’s part of life. I have to get my life in order.”

5 DEATH CAN INVOLVE FEARS THAT ARE PHYSICAL, SOCIAL, AND EMOTIONAL PHYSICAL - Helplessness, dependence, loss of physical abilities, mutilation of body, pain SOCIAL - Separation from family, leaving behind unfinished business EMOTIONAL - Being unprepared for death and what happens after death

6 INTERVENTIONS FOR FEARS Talk as needed Avoid superficial answers, i.e. “It’s God’s will” Provide religious support as the patient desires Stay with the patient as needed Work with families to strengthen and support

7 PHYSIOLOGY OF DYING Somatic death or death of the body Series of irreversible events leading to cell death Causes of death varies (pneumonia, heart attack, bacterial infection, etc..) However, there are basic body changes leading to all deaths

8 THESE BASIC BODY CHANGES RESULT IN THE DEATH OF ALL VITAL BODY SYSTEMS PULMONARY (lungs): Unable to oxygenate the body Observe for poor oxygenation - skin is pale, cyanotic, mottled, cool In dark skinned patients - assess mucous membranes, palms of hands, soles of feet

9 CARDIOVASCULAR Large load on heart when lungs fail Heart not getting needed oxygen Pumping heart not strong enough to circulate blood Blood backs up causing heart failure Leads to pulmonary and liver congestion

10 BLOOD CIRCULATION Decreased, as heart less able to pump May have a “drenching sweat” as death approaches Pulse becomes weak and irregular If pulse is relatively strong, death is hours away If pulse is weak and irregular, death is imminent (soon)

11 COMBINATION OF THESE EVENTS LEADS TO CELL DEATH, AND DEATH OF THE ORGANISM (HUMAN) As pulmonary and cardiovascular systems fail, other body systems begin to fail, also

12 FAILING METABOLISM Metabolic rate decreases, almost stopping Feces might be retained (constipation) or incontinence might be present (lose control of bowel function)

13 FAILING URINARY SYSTEM Urinary output decreases Blood pressure too low for kidney to filter toxins out Further load on cardiovascular system due to increase circulating volume

14 FAILING NERVOUS SYSTEM Decrease oxygen to the brain, means decreasing brain function (confusion, etc…) Sensation and power lost in legs, first, then arms May remain conscious, semi-conscious, or comatose

15 SPECIFIC SENSORY DECLINE A dying person turns toward light - sees only what is near Can only hear what is distinctly spoken Touch is diminished - response to pressure last to leave Dying person might turn toward or speak to someone not visible to anyone else Eyes may remain open even if unconscious Person might rally (seem better) just before dying

16 FURTHER NEUROLOGIC DECLINE AT DEATH Pupils might react sluggishly or not at all to light Pain might be significant Assess for pain if person unable to talk: restlessness, tight muscles, facial expressions (grimmace), frowns Provide pain medication as needed

17 AT THE END OF LIFE... Death is the end, as we know it, for that person We can only support, listen therapeutically, and Make the person as physically comfortable as possible We can also use our knowledge and expertise to strengthen, support, and prepare the family

18 HEALTHCARE RESPONSIBILITIES Responsibilities will vary by institution but may include some of the following: –Family notification if they are not present –Offer organ donation to the family (if applicable) –Raise the head of the bed, straighten room, allow family to see patient (if appropriate) –Shroud the patient –Complete the paperwork (notification of funeral home or coroner, contact hospital administration, organ donation forms, etc…)

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