I'm a fairly new nurse, and just starting out at an SNF. First off, I love my job, I love my residents and my coworkers
Today was my first personal experience with a patient death. I've had patients I've cared for die, but they've always managed to hang on til my day off. So I've had a few dying
patients I've cared for, but none that have gone. But today was that big nursing milestone, and I think it went okay.
I just have a few end of life questions. I can't seem to find answers (there's not too much info about end of life care, but that's another discussion). I almost feel silly asking my coworkers because the way they discuss symptoms it seems like I should have heard of them already. I have two I'm most curious about.
1. Fever. My patient today ran a low grade fever. I can't seem to find any physiology on why that's normal for end of life. Is it a last inflammation kick? Or maybe the body knows something's wrong and it's trying to fix it? Or is it more in the brain and hypothalamus, hormones, etc?
2. Mottling. I've heard of this happening with patients within a few days of death. It's a lack of circulation, particularly in the extremities, and I can figure that much out. His legs almost looked stringy and blue, not just discolored like I would expect? And why are the knees the place to look for it?
Thanks for your help! I'm pretty new to this. I was really nervous at first because he was having a lot of trouble breathing, but he was resting comfortably when he passed away. I felt like a good nurse today for taking care of him. I'd like any tips you can offer on this aspect of nursing so I have that much more I can offer the next time I'm in the position.
Also, I've had so many fantastic experiences with hospice nurses. You guys are fantastic