Sudden improvement before death?

Specialties Hospice


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88 Posts

Specializes in OR, Education.

Ya gotta get better so you can die :)

Specializes in Critical Care, ER.

We get post-op pts who immediately get better from the therapeutic effects of the surgery but then die from sepsis. Also severe head injuries will possibly improve a little after the primary injury and then tank when the secondary effects settle in.

Specializes in Oncology/Chemotherapy.

As an oncology nurse who helped patients and their families at the end of life, it is a very common occurence for the patient to appear alert just before expiring. We call it the "last Hurrah". I believe it is God's way of giving the dying person one last time to say goodbye. I always tell this to the families so that they don't get excitied. It is hard to understand. Sorry about your friends mom.

nursnancy said:
Have you had experiences with pts having a marked sudden improvement just before death? I have a friend whose mother went unresponsive (they were unable to wake her) for most of the day yesterday. She is in end stage Parkinson's and recently had a second CVA. That was the first time she has been unresponsive. They were finally able to wake her last night for very brief periods where she would say one or two words, then go back to sleep. My friend prepared herself for a death vigil. Before her mother became unresponsive and since her last stroke, she has been very weak, not able to speak loudly enough for anyone to hear her, and not "brightly" alert. Today her mother has awakened and is bright-eyed, alert, and talking better than she has in months. My friend is wondering if this could be the phenomenon of getting much better just before death. Since I am a nurse she asked me that question. I told her I just don't know. I've been a nurse since 1998, and I've seen a few people improve a little just before death, but not that much. I would be interested in hearing your experiences on this.

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