I am not a nurse but I would like to comment on her point as it pertains to family members. My father was dying from complications from CVA. Infection had weakened his body, he was unconcious and his tempature stayed in the 100+ range. The nurses at the nursing home did not know what to do, he was DNR and so they did not think they could give him anything. I sat at his beside packing ice around his neck and in his armpits to try to cool him off. His breathing was with great effort and it was a pain to watch that. Because he was unconcious he could not communicate his pain level, but I could tell he was very uncomfortable. My mom got hospice involved, it was amazing the difference that made. He had languished for three days in the condition I described and we felt so helpless, wanting to see him comforted.
Well, when hospice came in he lasted all of about 12 hours. But, that 12 hours appeared to be the most comfortable that he had over the course of the prior three days. I say this to emphasize, if there is anything you can do to help the patient, comfort the patient, it makes a big difference to the family to see their loved ones comfortable as they make their transition.