Health care workers should be skilled in recognising the imminently dying patient and responding safely and appropriately to the particular needs of that person, their carers and families. They should also have the skills to explain clearly and sensitively that a person may be imminently dying to that person, their family and carers, in a way that is appropriate to their circumstances.
Being unaware that a loved one may be imminently dying can compound the distress and subsequent grief felt by families and carers, after what they may perceive to have been the sudden death of their loved one (LACDP, 2014).
Timely recognition that a person may be imminently dying and clear communication of that possibility enables goals of care to be discussed and a plan of care developed, implemented and reviewed so care can be responsive to the changing needs and preferences of the patient, their family and carer.
Resourcing should ensure that safe and high quality care can be provided across all care settings and that regular communication between the patient, their family and carers occurs.