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Talking at dying patients bedside

Deenurse1 Deenurse1 (New) New

I'm looking for thoughts on how you feel about talking to the family about signs the patient is close to death while at bedside? Do you ask to talk in the hall or remain at bedside pointing out mottling, breathing patter, cold extremities?

tewdles, RN

Specializes in PICU, NICU, L&D, Public Health, Hospice. Has 31 years experience.

It depends upon the family, the patient, and the circumstances of that specific situation. I often speak to the family in the presence of the patient, in my opinion, there are very few secrets in hospice and patients are often reassured to know that their family members are getting good support.

Having said that, there are also many times when it is not appropriate either because of the patient or the family situation. It is our job to be observant and sensitive to the communication needs of the patient and family.


Has 8+ years experience.

Agreed -- totally situational. Some families will be the ultimate deciding factor and refuse to talk about the patient's condition at the bedside, while others won't want to leave the room.