Chapter 6: As death nears

If the person who is ill becomes confused or agitated

She became agitated, wanting to get out of bed. We were able to persuade her that she didn’t need to get up.

As death nears, the brain experiences the same burdens as the other systems of the body. With weakening function of organs such as the kidneys, the liver, and the lungs, a decrease in alertness and perhaps some degree of confusion (called “delirium”) may also occur.

People who are confused often also feel frightened and threatened by people and things around them. It can be very upsetting for family at the bedside to see and hear their loved one acting out of character or even being hurtful to others. Click the arrows below to see some ways this may impact the family and healthcare providers.