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Coherent Speech with massive stroke and end of life

Specializes in ALF, Medical, ER.

sorry for the confusing title. I need some input

My father-in-law had a massive stroke 4 days ago. Right side paralysis, no swallowing ability, no coherent speech

Until tonight

He had (on numerous occasions) told us that he absolutely did not want to have feeding tubes/ breathing tubes to sustain life. He would always tell us that if he could live on his own, that he did not want anything "artificial" to sustain him.

So in honoring his wishes, he is now a DNR/DNI.

One of his sons leaned over him tonight to tell him goodbye and that he loved him (he lives out of town and had to leave). My father-in-law (after days of no speech at all, only moaning) clearly said to him "I love you too".

Is this type of purposeful movement/speech common in end-of-life patients? Any experience with this?

I am not looking for medical advice. I understand the rules of this message board. Just trying to get an idea if this is expected.

Thank you for reading and for any replies you may have.


Specializes in hospice.

Yes, it does happen, not all of the time but to the blessed few it does. Cannot explain why, but I have seen often after days/weeks of confusion or unresponsiveness, all of a sudden the pt becomes very coherent, knows all of the family and may say goodbye or make wishes known. It doesn't last too long it seems, maybe a few hours or at most a day, then they return to their previous state.

Feel blessed he was able to do this..

yes, i have seen some mind-boggling phenomena at eol.

it never hurts to share update with his doctor, and get his/her input.

either way, it sounds like a lovely moment.



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