Excessive sleepiness and weakness as death approaches

As death approaches, you may sleep more and may be more difficult to arouse. Periods of wakefulness tend to be shorter.

As death nears, your caregivers will notice that you do not respond at all, that you appear to be in a deep sleep. This condition is known as a coma. When you are in a coma, you will be confined to bed, and all physical needs (such as bathing, turning, and bowel and bladder care) will be taken care of by someone else.

General weakness is also very common as you approach death. It is not unusual to need additional assistance walking, bathing, and using the toilet. Eventually, you may need help turning over in bed.

Medical equipment such as a wheelchair, walker, and hospital bed can be very helpful at this time. This equipment can be rented from a medical supply company or provided by a hospice program.

Last Updated: July 14, 2008

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