Article Text

A daughter’s experience of her mother’s death in hospital
  1. Anonymous
  1. In order to protect the interests of the author, her deceased mother, her family and the practitioners involved, this article has been written anonymously.


Key to improving palliative and end-of-life care is recognising the end-of-life phase. Without training relating to identification of signs and symptoms indicative of the terminal phase of disease, care of dying patients and their relatives/loved ones will not improve. Analysis of individual deaths may improve systems of care provision and identify local educational and service requirements. This article provides a personal account of the end-of-life care received by the author’s mother. Community staff felt unable to continue caring for her at home and so she was transferred to hospital, despite wanting to remain at home. Hospital staff immediately commenced active treatment, failed to control her pain and extreme anxiety and did not communicate with family members or provide them with support. The author’s aim is not to apportion blame but to reflect on what went wrong and suggest how end-of-life care might be improved. It emphasises the importance of all staff, in whichever setting they work, being able to recognise the signs that a patient is beginning to die.

  • Bad death
  • End-of-life care
  • Good death
  • Recognising dying
  • Symptom control

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