Help Guides - Planning Ahead

What to Do at the Bedside

You may not have much experience with death and dying.  If you’re close enough to visit the person, you probably feel uncertain about what you should be doing while you’re there.  Do you talk to them?  Do you touch them?  Should you even visit?  Or should you stay outside?  There aren’t any universal answers to these questions.  The best guide  for what to do is your relationship with the person.  If you usually greeted your grandmother with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, do that, if you’re able.  If your sister loved classical music more than anything in the world, considering playing some for her.  If your family tended to be quiet, don’t pressure yourselves to fill the silence with empty chatter.  If your family tends to talk and laugh jovially, don’t feel the need to stifle yourselves.  If you’re in a hospital or hospice, as the medical staff how to look for signs of discomfort in your loved one so that you can notice whether the noise or touch is causing them pain.