C.A.R.E.S.: A Tool for the Care of the Dying

Bonnie Freeman, RN, DNP, ANP, ACHPN, Compassionate Person-Centered Care for the Dying

Comfort (cont.)

The focus of care for the dying patient is comfort. All unnecessary procedures, tests and activities should be evaluated. Providing as much time for the patient and family to be together should be the priority. Consider obtaining orders as appropriate for the following:

  • Stop or modify vital signs.
  • Stop oral medications if unable to swallow and all nonessential medications.
  • Clarify IV options: stop or reduce.
  • Stop or reduce tube feedings.
  • Turn off monitor.
  • Discontinue isolation.
  • You can provide the following comfort measures without an order:
  • Turn and position patient only for comfort.
  • Modify bathing or stop per family request.
  • Consider re-enforcing dressings only.
  • Provide frequent oral care.
  • Provide oral suctioning if family requests.
  • Provide temperature comfort measures such as a cool wash cloth and ice packs.
  • Explain mottling and cyanosis as part of dying process and not from being cold.