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End-of-Life Assessments and Communication for Dying Patients and Their Families

End-of-life assessments aim to help dying patients and their families plan clinical interventions in advance and prepare them for a peaceful end of life, in which the patient accepts life and death, and the family accepts the patient's departure. It is important to assess whether death is imminent within a few days, because critical hospice care is provided intensively during that period. The following five changes constitute objective evidence of the end of life: diminished daily living performance, decreased food intake, changes in consciousness and increased sleep quantity, worsening of respiratory distress, and end-stage delirium. As subjective evidence, it is suggested that sensitive perceptions of experienced nurses and the feelings of family members caring for patients should also be considered. When notifying a patient or family members that the end of life is approaching, the members of the multidisciplinary hospice team must communicate with each other, share accurate information, and provide consistent explanations. They must also listen to non-verbal communication in an empathic and supportive manner.

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Korean Journal of Hospice & Palliative Care
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