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HealthInfo Canterbury

Caring for yourself when someone is dying

When someone close to you is dying you are likely to experience a whole mix of feelings:

This page may help you to make sense of some of these feelings.

Practical help from friends and family

For some people, dying may take hours, and for some it may be many days. Be aware of your own limitations as well as your strengths.

Think about who else might be around to support you, personally and practically. Are there other family members or friends who can help? If your loved one is in hospital or a hospice, the hospital team can offer information and emotional support.

There are some other important ways to make sure you care for yourself when someone you love is dying.

Always check with staff to make sure they have the right telephone numbers and know who to call when your loved one dies.

Help from hospice or hospital staff

If your loved one is in a hospital or hospital, the nurses and doctors can explain what they are doing as they care for them. If there is anything you don't understand, ask what is happening.

Make sure you let the staff know:

If you are caring for your loved one at home, make sure you know who to contact if you need help (this could be your GP, community nurse, social worker, or minister).

General issues to think about

On the next page: What to do when someone dies

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by Canterbury DHB and community palliative care specialists.Updated May 2017.

Page reference: 170426

Review key: HIWSD-76097