nursing interventions, palliative care, sedation, symptom distress, terminal restlessness



  1. Brajtman, Susan PhD, RN


Terminal restlessness is experienced by 25% to 85% of patients during the hours or days before their death. Family members are usually present during this critical time and witness the patient's severe symptoms and the management of these symptoms. This qualitative study explored and described the impact of terminal restlessness and its management on the family members who were witness to the event. Focus groups and in-depth interviews with bereaved family members were analyzed using qualitative thematic content analysis. The findings indicated that the family members were profoundly affected by their relative's experience of terminal restlessness and its medical and nursing management, and that specific nursing interventions are required to address the special concerns and needs of these families. The study illustrated the significant role that nurses have on the quality of the dying experience for the patient experiencing terminal restlessness and the patient's family.