Breathlessness and end of life care

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Thursday 11th June 2020

Breathlessness is one of the common symptoms that people experience at the end of their lives. However, determining whether a patient is entering the last few days of their life requires the GP to consider a range of factors. Before making this decision it is important to consider how the patient has presented previously, if possible based on contact over a period of time.

GatewayC’s ‘Lung Cancer – End of Life Carecourse includes a full interview with Dr David Waterman, Consultant in Palliative Medicine, outlining the last stages of life.

Key points from this interview include:

  • How to decide if a patient is entering the last days of life
  • When to consider anticipatory drugs
  • Common end of life symptoms
  • How to control symptoms
  • How to manage end of life care

GPs must first: recognise that the patient is entering end of life and exclude treatable reversible causes. Anticipatory medication can be considered once GPs have assessed the five priorities of care.

Common symptoms at the end of life include:

  • Pain
  • Breathlessness
  • Sickness
  • Agitation
  • Upper airways secretions

 Find out more:

  • Access GatewayC’s ‘Lung Cancer – End of Life Care’ here
  • Read Macmillan’s guide on managing and treating breathlessness here

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Latest from the Blog

Cancer Keys: Thrombocytosis and L.E.G.O

Cancer Keys: Thrombocytosis and L.E.G.O

Reactive thrombocytosis can be indicator for several underlying causes, which are either self-limiting or serious. These can include infection (e.g. H.pylori), inflammation, blood loss, anaemia and a number of cancers. Helpful hint Depending on the presentation, NICE...

read more
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Cancer Keys: Salty Foods and Stomach Cancer Risk

Eating too many foods that are high in salt such as salted meat, brined fish and pickled vegetables can increase the risk of stomach cancer. Higher rates of stomach cancer are found in countries like Japan and Korea, than in the UK, where these foods are more popular....

read more

Related Posts

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.