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When moods change or personalities seem to change, family members may be completely bewildered and feel helpless: not knowing what to do.

It is common knowledge that individuals who are experiencing even minor illnesses may demonstrate mood changes such as irritability, anger, depression and avoid communication with others.

If, and only if, other obvious causes of restlessness and agitation have already been eliminated, then the physician may directly order medications to reduce the restlessness and agitation.

Nurses must make sure that the physician's orders are being followed, that if any other symptoms are not well managed, the physician is contacted or adjustments are made in order to relieve those symptoms.

the patient is agitated, I'll use a sedative..." However, that may be a very short-sighted and uneducated approach. Because sedating the patient is not the first action to take.

One must first determine what other causes might exist.

When a terminal illness not only initially strikes, but is now nearing the end, patients may experience profound mood changes.

Such mood changes are often difficult for family members to "handle." Causes and treatments for restlessness and agitation are well-known among the palliative care professionals who work with the dying on a regular basis.

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Those who work with the dying know this type of restlessness or agitation almost immediately.

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