Chapter 4: Conversations at the end of life
Talking to the dying person with delirium
Near the end of life, many people go through periods of confusion called delirium. Delirium changes how a dying person thinks and feels. Most people with advanced cancer experience this in the weeks or hours before death.
After a period of confusion, the person may return to his or her normal self for a while. Delirium is often a sign that the illness is getting worse and is usually not due to psychological problems.
Delirium is one of the most difficult things for family members and friends to see. Try to remember that symptoms such as anger, disinhibition or confusion are signs of the disease talking, not the person.
You can help a person going through delirium by: