A study recently published online suggests that keeping the patient fully informed in the final days means that they are more likely to have their preferences met and to die in their preferred place. Their family members are also more likely to be prepared for the death and to be offered bereavement support.
Researchers in Sweden looked at more than 1,000 cases in which patients were informed of their imminent death and compared this with a similar number who were not informed. Results showed no differences with regard to pain control, nausea, anxiety, confusion, respiratory tract secretions and other end-of-life symptoms.
The study concludes that, “providing information of imminent death to a patient with cancer at the end of life does not seem to increase pain or anxiety, but it does seem to be associated with improved care and to increase the likelihood of fulfilling the principles of a good death.”