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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 52(7); 2009 > Article
Journal of the Korean Medical Association 2009;52(7):697-704.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5124/jkma.2009.52.7.697   
The Last Hours of Living: Practical Advice for Clinicians
Jung Hyun Kim, Youn Seon Choi
1Department of Family Medicine, Cheongju Hana General Hospital, Korea. astrobass@hanmail.net
2Department of Family Medicine, Korea University College of Medicine, Korea. younseon@korea.ac.kr
Caring for a patient dying is a hardship not only for the health care professionals, but also for the direct family members. Everyone wants to die in peace. However, inevitable problems accompanied by pain, dyspnea, moist breathing, nausea and vomiting, restlessness jerking and twitching were commonly noted in the last phase of life. Terminal patients also experience increasing weakness and immobility, loss of interest in food and drink, difficulty in swallowing, and drowsiness during the last hours of life. Control of symptoms and family support are extremely important, and the actual nature of the primary illness takes less importance. This is a time when levels of anxiety, stress, and emotion can be high for patients, families, and other caregivers. Thus, it is important for the healthcare team to adopt sensitive and systematic approach to patients including documentation and communication of end-of-life issues. Hospice is the most ideal program for this purpose.
Key Words: The last hours of living, Dying patient, Communication, Hospice


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