Julie, a dedicated hospice nurse from Los Angeles, California, with 1.3 million followers, sheds light on the moments before death and dispels hospice myths.
Trying to Talk About the Taboo
Julie, who goes by the TikTok handle @hospicenursejulie, has several years of experience caring for patients in their last stages of life. She has embarked on a mission to demystify the often-taboo subject of death through her presence on social media.
Offering End of Life Care
Her role as a hospice nurse primarily involves offering compassionate care to terminally ill patients, addressing their physical needs and tending to their emotional and spiritual well-being.
Easing Fear Surrounding Death
With a considerable following of 1.3 million on TikTok, Julie utilizes her platform to share candid information about death, diminishing the fear and stigma surrounding it.
She Has Valuable Knowledge
Julie recently shared valuable insights regarding the behaviors and expressions of individuals approaching their imminent passing.
Patients’ Last Words Capture Her Attention
Among these changes, she elucidated shifts in breathing patterns, skin color alterations, terminal secretions, and instances of fever. However, it’s the last words of dying patients that have captured her attention.
‘I Love You’
According to Julie, a recurring sentiment is the utterance of “I love you,” often shortly before their passing.
Calling Out for Parents Who Have Passed
Additionally, she noted that many individuals “call out to their mum or dad – who have usually already died.”
Everyone Is Different
Yet, Julie acknowledges that the experience of death is highly individual, and generalizations might not capture the entirety of the process.
“Actively Dying Phase”
Nevertheless, she highlighted that patients whose deaths result from natural causes tend to exhibit comparable symptoms during what she terms the “actively dying phase.”
Changes Occurring During the Final Days
This phase encompasses changes in consciousness, breathing patterns, and skin mottling, accompanied by terminal secretions.
Natural Part of the Process
Julie reassures that these physical shifts are a natural part of the process and are neither painful nor uncomfortable.
Less Is More
She emphasizes the body’s innate ability to navigate this phase, suggesting that minimal intervention often yields better results.
Debunking Hospice Care Myths
Addressing common misconceptions, Julie debunks certain myths associated with hospice care.
Two Major Myths Debunked
Contrary to popular belief, not all individuals expire shortly after being admitted to a hospice facility. She also dispels the notion that morphine administration accelerates the dying process.
She Loves What She Does
Beyond her role in dispelling myths, Julie finds deep gratification in her profession. Her ultimate satisfaction stems from her role in guiding the dying and their families through what can be a daunting and unsettling period.
Helping People Understand What to Expect
She expresses, “The best part about my job is educating patients and families about death and dying as well as supporting them emotionally and physically. Also, helping them to understand what to expect is another part of my job as a hospice nurse.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dmitry Laudin. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.