30.5.2  A checklist for end-of-life care

Here are some points for you to bear in mind when you are caring for a person at the end of his/her life.


  • Be present with compassion.
  • Visit regularly.
  • Move slowly and quietly.

Caring and comfort

  • Moisten the lips, mouth and eyes. Offer sips of liquid to drink.
  • Keep the patient clean and dry, and prepare for leakage from the bowel (faeces) and bladder (urine).
  • Provide physical contact by light touch. Hold the person’s hand, listen and converse if they want to talk.
  • Reassure the patient that eating less is alright; don’t make them eat if they don’t want to.

Medication and symptom control

  • Only give essential medication — anti-diarrhoeal remedies, and paracetamol to treat pain or fever. Make sure pain is controlled.
  • Help the patient control other symptoms by ensuring that medical treatment prescribed by the doctor is taken at the right times and in the right dosages.
  • Skin care requires the patient to be turned every two hours, or more frequently, as already described in Section 30.4.2.

30.5.1  Preparing for death

30.5.3  Recognising signs of death