The final common pathway of many progressive illnesses with irreversible decline in functional status before death and may occur over days or weeks.
This can be challenging and require communication on topics like hopes, fears and goals, appropriate planning for changing clinical needs and withdrawal or withholding of life sustaining treatment.
Harlos M. The Terminal Phase. Hanks G, Cherny NI, Christakis NA, Fallon M, Kaasa S, Portenoy RK (Ed).Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine. Oxford University Press, Fourth Edition, 2010, pp. 1549-1559.