Ear changes in the dying pt

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    My mother told me that she heard 20years ago (she's a cna) that a persons ears curl backward when they are toward the end. She says it sets in even before mottling does. I guess being new and haven't yet experienced many deaths that I have not noticed it. She says in almost every person she has seen pass this has happened. Has anyone else heard of this? Do you know what causes it?
  2. 16 Comments so far...

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    Quote from gagezoie
    My mother told me that she heard 20years ago (she's a cna) that a persons ears curl backward when they are toward the end. She says it sets in even before mottling does. I guess being new and haven't yet experienced many deaths that I have not noticed it. She says in almost every person she has seen pass this has happened. Has anyone else heard of this? Do you know what causes it?
    Never heard or saw any such thing.(Late Entry)Apology to the OP, your Mom was right!:imbar
    Last edit by Simplepleasures on Feb 5, '08
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    I have seen a number of dying pts whose earlobes drop back and get kinda saggy. They also develop an earlobe crease a lot of times. At the hospice where I worked, this was a common sign we watched for. We'd say "So and so's ears have dropped."

    It's especially noticable when a pt is lying on their back. Their earlobes hang down. It's as if all the fluid has gone out of them. I don't know what causes this.
    Last edit by Valerie Salva on Feb 5, '08 : Reason: typo
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    Quote from Valerie Salva
    I have seen a number of dying pts whose earlobes drop back and get kinda saggy. They also develop an earlobe crease a lot of times. At the hospice where I worked, this was a common sign we watched for. We'd say "So and so's ears have dropped."

    It's especially noticable when a pt is lying on their back. Their earlobes hang down. It's as if all the fluid has gone out of them. I don't know what causes this.
    No kidding!! Wow, I have heard about a crease in the earlobe of people with cardiovascular disease.Never to old to learn, I guess.
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    Valerie is correct. It's one of the changes we look for in our patients, also. Usually noticed before the mottling begins.
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    yep, it is true, it does happen and I always assumed it was from dehydration---------a normal part of the dying process.
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    I was lucky enough to have a preceptor teach me this while we were taking care of a palliative patient. I doubt I would have picked this up on my own.
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    Must look out for this,can't say I've ever noticed before!
  10. 0
    Yep...I've seen it too.
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    I was an aide for 4 yrs and nurse now going on 2 yrs and this is the first time I've heard this. Good info to know!my:


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