The final hours or days before death is a specific period in which patients may experience new symptoms or concerns that affect both patients and their families.
Deathbed visions are defined as "visions of deceased relatives or friends, religious figures, or a visionary language pertaining to travel."
These visions may be an element of the dying process that involves "an instinctive need for a spiritual connection and meaning, requiring compassionate understanding and respect from those who provide end-of-life care."
Several studies that have documented deathbed visions in the final days of life describe these visions as comforting to the patient.
One study report that different health care professionals may interpret these experiences as spiritual events or as physiologic processes (e.g., delirium).
This information highlights the need for caregivers to assist dying patients who experience these not uncommon phenomena.
Adapted from Medscape News & Perspective. Deathbed visions at end of life. Internet. Available at https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/880154?src=wnl_edit_tpal&uac=6705FY. Accessed on April 30, 2018. To view the entire article and all other content on the Medscape News and Perspective site, a free, one-time registration is required.