Imminent death is when an individual is expected to die soon, usually within hours or days. Imminent death can occur due to a severe illness, a traumatic injury, or other medical conditions.
Some signs that death may be imminent include:
- Changes in breathing: The individual may have shallow or irregular breathing or may experience periods where they stop breathing altogether.
- Decreased consciousness: The individual may become unresponsive or difficult to arouse and unable to communicate.
- Changes in vital signs: The individual’s blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature may begin to decrease.
- Skin changes: The individual’s skin may become cool to the touch, pale or mottled in appearance, or may have a bluish or grayish tint.
- Urine output: The individual’s urine output may decrease, and they may develop incontinence.
It’s important to note that not all individuals will experience the same signs and symptoms as they approach death. The timing and progression of these symptoms can vary widely depending on the individual’s medical condition and other factors. The hospice team, medical providers, or other healthcare professionals can guide and support the patient and their family during this difficult time.