4. Decreased Appetite and Thirst
As a person’s body naturally shuts down and prepares for death, it no longer needs the calories and nutrition that food provides. If you’re concerned about your loved one’s hunger or thirst, you can read more about decreased appetite, how to increase food intake, and artificial feedings. It is best not to try to force someone to eat. In some cases, a person will actively choose to stop eating and drinking to avoid prolonging the dying process.
5. Nausea or Vomiting
Illnesses, medications, and other treatments can lead to nausea with or without vomiting. This can be an extremely troubling symptom for your loved one, as well as for you. Fresh air, small meals, limiting odors, and nausea medications are among the treatments you can try to help your loved one manage these symptoms.
If you’ve ever been constipated, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Medications used to treat pain and shortness of breath can cause constipation, as can lack of activity, decreased fiber and fluid intake, and disease processes. Constipation is a symptom you have to stay on top of to prevent it from becoming severe. Ask your loved one’s doctor or nurse how best to manage it.
7. Sleep Changes
A dying patient may sleep excessively due to lack of energy, as part of the body shutting down, or as a result of medications that cause drowsiness.