Dying in residential aged care

As the dying resident may be clinically unstable, proactive management is necessary.

  • Talk to the patient, family and carers about plans for their care
  • Review anticipatory prescribing
  • Ensure medicines are immediately available
  • Doses should be regularly reviewed based on frequent reassessment of symptoms
  • For persistent problems chart regular medications
  • Always chart 'as needed' doses of required medications to cover 'breakthrough symptoms'
    These include pain, nausea, delirium, agitation, shortness of breath
  • Administer medications by the most reliable route. In the dying patient, this is generally subcutaneous (SC)

Caring for a dying patient can be a trigger to review processes in working with residential aged care staff. More information can be found in the PA Toolkit.

Helpful resources


Page updated 22 May 2016

palliAGED is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.