Chapter 3: Outlining what to expect

1-3 months prior to death

The palliative care expert says
Dr. Mike Harlos explains how to prepare families for the predictable changes at end of life. (3:22)Video transcript
Dr. Peter Hudson explains the need to demystify death for family members and discuss patient and family priorities as illness progresses. (3:22)Video transcript

Common physical signals of decline include:

  • Reduced energy.

  • Increased need to rest.

  • Longer periods of sleep.

  • Reduced appetite.

  • Difficulty with daily activities such as getting in and out of bed and washing themselves.
Keep in mind that these are just possible indicators. Some of these signs may appear earlier or later, depending on the individual circumstances. Medications also affect patients in different ways, such as reduced level of activity and ability to concentrate. 

Conversation Prompts

Have you noticed any physical changes or changes in their behaviour or thoughts?

Has anything new happened in the last week that is troubling?

See also:When Death is Near article.
Confusion article. Lack of appetite and weight loss article.Frequently asked question about lack of energy.Frequently asked question about whether its painful when a person has stopped eating and drinking.