The time leading up to death carries with it exceptional stress for patients and families. Many people find this to be the most difficult moment of their lives. There may be so many competing challenges co-occurring that their usual coping strategies and resources are overwhelmed.
Remember that families are trying their best to cope with the circumstances. Suspend any tendencies towards judgement. Know that you are privy to a small slice of a much larger picture. As such, your expectations may not be informed, sensitive, or realistic. Attend to potentially traumatizing events and make any recommendations to services you deem appropriate.
Being present in moments of acute grief is a privilege, and families will certainly remember your professionalism and kindness in the years ahead.