The process of dying

Recognising signs of dying

Death is a natural part of life. In a lot of cases, dying can be uncomplicated and can require minimal support from healthcare professionals.

The NHS Inform link below has outlined the physical changes that occur when someone is dying.

Physical changes at the end of life

The process of dying from COVID-19 will be similar to that from other conditions, and the same approach to care at the end of life is encouraged.

The clip from Marie Curie gives real-life experiences from people who have lost people they cared for at home. It can help prepare you and your family for what you may encounter in caring at the end of life.

Link to Marie Curie video in YouTube (opens in a new window)

However, in some cases, the process of dying requires some support from healthcare professionals. From a healthcare stand point, please contact your GP, District Nurses or Community Macmillan Nurses as they will know your situation and can assist you best.

At this current time they may not be able to visit as regularly, but they will want to support you as much as possible.

Medications can cause some anxiety, which is completely understandable. This document, Medication Guide For Carers, is extremely useful and gives clear guidance on how to administer medications.

'Just in case' medications for end-of-life

Please refer to Medication Guide for Carers on how to give these medications

Morphine - used for

  • Pain
  • Breathlessness or Cough in COVID-19

Midazolam - used for

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Breathlessness in COVID-19

Levomepromazine -used for

  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Confusion, Hallucinations (common in COVID-19)

Hyoscine Butylbromide - used for

  • Thin Secretions in the chest (thicker secretions will be more difficult to manage with this medication)

(Adapted from Last Aid International, 2019)