How long now.....sleeping 20+ hours a day?

We've been told by hospice and books that one of the signs of end of life is when sleeping becomes more and dear sweet papa is losing the battle as the cancer continues to spread, with nothing more can be done....he's sleeping 20+ hours a day now. Just really concerned and want to hear from you all that has lost their loved one and what were signs when they drew nearer to end of life?

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I am so sorry if this is coming to the end for your dad.
It is a very hard thing for anyone to watch. I know too well, I have been there watching my hubby pass away.
All I can say is I am sending my prayers to you,
Take care and God bless you all,

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The anniversary of my father's death is June 1, so the memories are still pretty fresh.
I don't even know what to say except I'm sorry. In my opinion, he is near the end. My father passed very peacefully as I pray your father will.
I remember reading about a "death rattle" or something like that where their breathing becomes labored, but we didn't experience that. But the fact that he's sleeping so much is a pretty definitive sign.
I wish you strength and peace and I will say a prayer for you and your family tonight.
Hang in there,

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caen" t say for sure the signs of death it can be different for each person. My mom died of luiekemia a few yrs. ago. She was fully awake when I left her that morning but began sleeping around noon and just slipped on to heaven a 4 in the afternoon very peacefully. I hope it will be the same for your pappa when he goes. I will pray for you and your family tonight.

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Dear Kim,
I am so sorry to hear that your father is not doing well. I know that your have all been there with him, and he has been through so much. If indeed this is his time, and it may be he is easing into death by sleeping so much. Just so long as he does not suffer, and his days are gentle, it is much easier to bear. I will also pray for him and your family...God bless you all. Always, Peg

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Dear Kim,

As others have already said, sleeping most of the time in one of the signs that the end is nearing.

End-of-Life Care: Questions and Answers

When a patient's health care team determines that the cancer can no longer be controlled, medical testing and cancer treatment often stop. But the patient's care continues. The care focuses on making the patient comfortable. The patient receives medications and treatments to control pain and other symptoms, such as constipation, nausea, and shortness of breath. Some patients remain at home during this time, while others enter a hospital or other facility. Either way, services are available to help patients and their families with the medical, psychological, and spiritual issues surrounding dying. A hospice often provides such services.

The time at the end of life is different for each person. Each individual has unique needs for information and support. The patient's and family's questions and concerns about the end of life should be discussed with the health care team as they arise.

The following information can help answer some of the questions that many patients, their family members, and caregivers have about the end of life.

1. How long is the patient expected to live?

Patients and their family members often want to know how long a person is expected to live. This is a hard question to answer. Factors such as where the cancer is located and whether the patient has other illnesses can affect what will happen. Although doctors may be able to make an estimate based on what they know about the patient, they might be hesitant to do so. Doctors may be concerned about over- or under-estimating the patient's life span. They also might be fearful of instilling false hope or destroying a person's hope.
2. When caring for the patient at home, when should the caregiver call for professional help?

When caring for a patient at home, there may be times when the caregiver needs assistance from the patient's health care team. A caregiver can contact the patient's doctor or nurse for help in any of the following situations:
* The patient is in pain that is not relieved by the prescribed dose of pain medication;
* The patient shows discomfort, such as grimacing or moaning;
* The patient is having trouble breathing and seems upset;
* The patient is unable to urinate or empty the bowels;
* The patient has fallen;
* The patient is very depressed or talking about committing suicide;
* The caregiver has difficulty giving medication to the patient;
* The caregiver is overwhelmed by caring for the patient, or is too grieved or afraid to be with the patient; or
* At any time the caregiver does not know how to handle a situation.

3. What are some ways that caregivers can provide emotional comfort to the patient?

Everyone has different needs, but some emotions are common to most dying patients. These include fear of abandonment and fear of being a burden. They also have concerns about loss of dignity and loss of control. Some ways caregivers can provide comfort are as follows:
* Keep the person company—talk, watch movies, read, or just be with the person.
* Allow the person to express fears and concerns about dying, such as leaving family and friends behind. Be prepared to listen.
* Be willing to reminisce about the person's life.
* Avoid withholding difficult information. Most patients prefer to be included in discussions about issues that concern them.
* Reassure the patient that you will honor advance directives, such as living wills.
* Ask if there is anything you can do.
* Respect the person's need for privacy.

4. What are the signs that death is approaching? What can the caregiver do to make the patient comfortable?

Certain signs and symptoms can help a caregiver anticipate when death is near. They are described below, along with suggestions for managing them. It is important to remember that not every patient experiences each of the signs and symptoms. In addition, the presence of one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily indicate that the patient is close to death. A member of the patient's health care team can give family members and caregivers more information about what to expect.
* Drowsiness, increased sleep, and/or unresponsiveness (caused by changes in the patient's metabolism).

The caregiver and family members can plan visits and activities for times when the patient is alert. It is important to speak directly to the patient and talk as if the person can hear, even if there is no response. Most patients are still able to hear after they are no longer able to speak. Patients should not be shaken if they do not respond.

* Confusion about time, place, and/or identity of loved ones; restlessness; visions of people and places that are not present; pulling at bed linens or clothing (caused in part by changes in the patient's metabolism). Gently remind the patient of the time, date, and people who are with them. If the patient is agitated, do not attempt to restrain the patient. Be calm and reassuring. Speaking calmly may help to re-orient the patient.

* Decreased socialization and withdrawal (caused by decreased oxygen to the brain, decreased blood flow, and mental preparation for dying).

Speak to the patient directly. Let the patient know you are there for them. The patient may be aware and able to hear, but unable to respond. Professionals advise that giving the patient permission to “let go” can be helpful.

* Decreased need for food and fluids, and loss of appetite (caused by the body's need to conserve energy and its decreasing ability to use food and fluids properly).

Allow the patient to choose if and when to eat or drink. Ice chips, water, or juice may be refreshing if the patient can swallow. Keep the patient's mouth and lips moist with products such as glycerin swabs and lip balm.

* Loss of bladder or bowel control (caused by the relaxing of muscles in the pelvic area).

Keep the patient as clean, dry, and comfortable as possible. Place disposable pads on the bed beneath the patient and remove them when they become soiled.

* Darkened urine or decreased amount of urine (caused by slowing of kidney function and/or decreased fluid intake).

Caregivers can consult a member of the patient's health care team about the need to insert a catheter to avoid blockage. A member of the health care team can teach the caregiver how to take care of the catheter if one is needed.

* Skin becomes cool to the touch, particularly the hands and feet; skin may become bluish in color, especially on the underside of the body (caused by decreased circulation to the extremities).

Blankets can be used to warm the patient. Although the skin may be cool, patients are usually not aware of feeling cold. Caregivers should avoid warming the patient with electric blankets or heating pads, which can cause burns.

* Rattling or gurgling sounds while breathing, which may be loud; breathing that is irregular and shallow; decreased number of breaths per minute; breathing that alternates between rapid and slow (caused by congestion from decreased fluid consumption, a buildup of waste products in the body, and/or a decrease in circulation to the organs).

Breathing may be easier if the patient's body is turned to the side and pillows are placed beneath the head and behind the back. Although labored breathing can sound very distressing to the caregiver, gurgling and rattling sounds do not cause discomfort to the patient. An external source of oxygen may benefit some patients. If the patient is able to swallow, ice chips also may help. In addition, a cool mist humidifier may help make the patient's breathing more comfortable.

* Turning the head toward a light source (caused by decreasing vision).

Leave soft, indirect lights on in the room.

* Increased difficulty controlling pain (caused by progression of the disease).

It is important to provide pain medications as the patient's doctor has prescribed. The caregiver should contact the doctor if the prescribed dose does not seem adequate. With the help of the health care team, caregivers can also explore methods such as massage and relaxation techniques to help with pain.

* Involuntary movements (called myoclonus), changes in heart rate, and loss of reflexes in the legs and arms are additional signs that the end of life is near.

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Sweet Kim, I'm so sorry to hear this.
Even if your dad is sleeping, he can hear you. Near the end for my sister we read bible passages, and gave her a sponge bath. Let him know how much you love him and that it's ok to go home to Jesus and that you will all take care of each other. These are things that hold people from moving on, they are worried about leaving their loved one.

I believe when your dad moves on his spirit will be watching over you and your family.

Praying for a peaceful passing for your dad and for your family for strength and comfort during this very difficult time.

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Kim, I am sorry this is happening to your dad and your family. My dad died of dementia. He was sedated due to being unable to swallow any longer. He slept for what seemed 3 days without ever waking. I could never tell when he would get distressed but the nurse could and would give him more medicaton. He was a snorer so his heavy breathing wasn't unusual to me. At the end his breaths got shallower. His fingers did turn blue. We stayed with him until we could no longer see the pulse beating o his neck. His fever had risen to 105 at times. Glad he never woke up during this time. We felt he was holding on but we didn't know because we were all there with him.

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and please just close your eyes and draw strength from us here on the site.

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Each person experiences death differently, but my hubby basically slept more, then it was harder for him to hold his urine and bowels when moving, his urine became darker and less, then he became restless the night before-picking at things in the bed and in the air, started to halucinate (talk about things that are not what is going on at the time like there's a cat jumping up on the window screen-when indeed there is not--perhaps talk about their job as if they are doing it-actually working) and then within 8 hours he passed peacefully took a last breath and went to sleep. Some people do not talk much during this shut down phase-lay quietly looking at the ceiling and then say something but do not actually look around at people in the room. Some people linger on for days but most pass this way. Not all people have the death rattle-my husband did not.

It's not easy watching this happen, but when cancer takes over they are better off passing due to the pain and suffering that happens with this nasty disease. Being a caregiver is hard because you do not have the ability to change things only can try to make them comfortable. But the actual death is peaceful when they take that last breath.

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I am so sorry you are going through this. I remember being where you are last October and as my Dad slowly drifted further away and slept more and quit talking it was heartbreaking. That voice of comfort I have come to know and depend on and be able to call upon all my life was no longer there. I pray your Dad passes away peacefully as mine did. Sending lots of prayers.


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I'm sorry you are going through this. I'm in the same boat and I will be honest, my Mother In Law has been sleeping 16 - 20 + hours each day for almost 10 days now. When awake she would still be alert and with it but over the last 24 hours she has lost her bowels and is very confused.

I know that sleeping a lot means the end is 'close' but in our case, we're many days into this way and her heart is strong, her vitals are stable again after being very wacky a week ago.

Thinking of you

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