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.

Helpful resources


Page updated 25 February 2022

palliAGED is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.