Caregiving at Home


Thinking About Home Care




Caring For Yourself


Setting Up Your Home, Safety and Body Mechanics


Preventing Infection in the Home


Normal and Abnormal Signs of Aging


Meeting Special Needs and Conditions


Death, Dying and Hospice Care


Providing Personal Care


Transfers and Ambulation


Basic Healthcare Skills


Healthy Eating and Hydration


Emergency Care



Chapter 8 – Death, Dying and Hospice Care

If your loved one is elderly or has a terminal illness, you will eventually face the issues of dying and death. While it may never be possible to fully prepare oneself emotionally for the death of a loved one, familiarity with the stages of death and the processes of grief can be helpful during this difficult time. Chapter 8 of Caregiving at Home describes the five stages of the dying process as outlined by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying. While the five stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), are not experienced in the same way or the same order for everyone, they can provide a reference point for understanding what your loved one may be feeling.

The grief process, like the process of dying itself, is different for everyone. "Death, Dying, and Hospice Care" describes many of the emotions felt by those who have experienced the death of a loved one. This chapter also suggests some resources for helping and supporting those who are grieving.

While death may occur suddenly or gradually, there are certain physical changes that are recognized as signs and symptoms of approaching death. Chapter 8 describes these signs and provides guidelines for making your loved one more comfortable during the dying process, including skin care, pain relief, and difficulties with eating and drinking. The chapter includes "The Dying Person’s Bill of Rights," which describes ways to treat a dying person with dignity and honesty. It also outlines steps for postmortem care, or care of the body after death.

One option in caring for a dying person is hospice care. Hospice care uses a holistic approach to caring for those with terminal illnesses and their families. Chapter 8 discusses the goals of hospice care, which include the comfort and dignity of the dying person, and the special training that hospice workers receive. The resources at the end of the chapter help you to find hospice care in your area.