Last Days of Life: Care for the Patient and Family

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The last days of life provide an opportunity for physicians to promote comfort, peacefulness, dignity, healing, and closure. The first step hospitalists can take is to recognize the opportunity for maximizing comfort measures as soon as possible and to anticipate the patient's physical symptoms and the family's emotional distress. A helpful strategy for communicating in this context is to offer the family a clear description of what the dying process looks like, or signposting. Following through on the promise to provide comfort in the last days of life requires proficiency in the pronouncement of death and in communication with family members and relevant clinicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHospital-Based Palliative Medicine: A Practical, Evidence-Based Approach
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781118772607
ISBN (Print)9781118772577
StatePublished - Jul 24 2015


  • Autopsy
  • Cheyne-Stokes
  • Death pronouncement
  • Death rattle
  • Last days
  • Last hours
  • Medical examiner
  • Signposting
  • Signs of death
  • Unresponsiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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