Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme
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What is dying like?

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The UK National Health Service (NHS) in Scotland have issued new guidelines explaining what happens when someone is dying, following survey results which suggest that death has become an alien experience for many of us.

An article on the website of the Herald Scotland, explains: "Shallow or rattly breathing, swelling hands and sleepiness are among the changes described in the official NHS Scotland guidance, which is being promoted in the belief that having some idea of what to expect in the last days and hours of a person's life can be reassuring."

The new guidelines highlight noticeable changes in the physical condition of the gravely ill, which can include:

  • a reduced appetite
  • changes in breathing
  • skin getting colder and changes in colour
  • becoming restless and agitated.

Mark Hazelwood, chief executive of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, said that our current health systems are intended to ‘fix’ people, and therefore not prepared to facilitate a good death.

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