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Ear changes in the dying pt

Geriatric   (87,308 Views | 16 Replies)

gagezoie specializes in LTC.

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My mother told me that she heard 20 years ago (she's a cna) that a person's 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?

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gagezoie said:
My mother told me that she heard 20 years ago (she's a cna) that a person's 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!

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Valerie Salva has 19 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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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.

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Valerie Salva said:
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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Hospice Nurse LPN has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in LTC, Psych, Hospice.

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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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163 Posts; 1,599 Profile Views

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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linzz specializes in Geriatrics, Med-Surg..

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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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nightmare is a LPN and specializes in Nursing Home ,Dementia Care,Neurology..

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Must look out for this,can't say I've ever noticed before!

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CoffeeRTC has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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Yep...I've seen it too.

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SDS_RN has 2 years experience as a RN and specializes in CNA, Surgical, Pediatrics, SDS, ER.

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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!

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jmER said:
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!

Don't feel bad - I was a nurse for many years, and took care of a multitude of dying patients, and I'd never heard of that!

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banditrn said:
Don't feel bad - I was a nurse for many years, and took care of a multitude of dying patients, and I'd never heard of that!

Me neither, I guess old dogs can learn new tricks.;)

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