Pathway 4: When the Person Is Dying - CarerHelp

Pathway 4: When the Person Is Dying

If you believe that the person you care for is going to die very soon, you might feel helpless and unsure of what you can do for them. You may have fears about what is going to happen and feel grief knowing that they may not be alive for much longer. Things may change very quickly, but they might also change slowly and subtly. This can be one of the most difficult parts of the caring journey.

You may not be sure how to know if someone is dying or how you can manage the person’s pain or discomfort. You could feel uncertain about what you need to do just after the person dies. There is likely to be a lot on your mind.

The videos in this pathway will try to answer some of the questions you might have. They give you expert advice on what to expect and suggestions for things to do. The resources below will also help you to make plans and decisions at this time.

Palliative Care Doctor Mark Boughey talks about the dying process and how carers can offer comfort to the dying person

Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner Regina Kendall gives some tips on what to do when someone dies

Key resources

The resources available below are relevant to this pathway. Most will have a PDF version you can print or save to your device. If you need help now, call the numbers listed.

Need help now?

Call 000 for emergency services and urgent assistance. If you need to talk, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Call Carer Gateway Contact Centre for support and services (1800 422 737 Mon to Fri, 8am to 5pm).

Pathway 4 summary

This pathway outlines resources and tools that can be used when caring for someone who is dying. (pdf, 324kb)

Download pathway 4

Caring for the dying person

This factsheet (pdf, 230kb) provides practical advice on managing a range of issues in the last days of life.

Ways to be there

Being present with the dying person is important.These suggestions (pdf, 550kb) may help.

What to do in an emergency

Unexpected things happen. Having an emergency plan means you have options you have already thought about if unexpected situations arise. This resource (pdf, 288kb) discusses some situations in which it would be useful to have an emergency plan.

What to do when someone dies

Choice has produced this checklist of necessary processes after someone has died.

Funeral planning

For more information on planning a funeral and finding a funeral director, visit the Australian Funeral Directors Association website.

Other CarerHelp sheets

 Caring for yourself at the bedside (pdf, 222kb)
After the death (pdf, 210kb)
Recognising dying (pdf, 261kb)

Carer Check

Answering a quick set of questions can help you identify what you feel most concerned about and can point you to helpful resources.

Get started