Pastoral Care of the Sick
A priest alone may give the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. It is administered to a person who is seriously ill, preparing for significant surgery, in hospice care, or in any extreme form of physical distress. Contact the parish office as soon as possible while your sick loved one is alert and able to communicate.
The sacrament of Anointing can be given more than once. A person receives Viaticum who is still alert and able to take communion with the beautiful opportunity of Confession before the reception of Holy Communion as Viaticum. What we formerly understood as Last Rites is truly the Anointing of the Sick, which is only when it cannot be administered again. But the last sacrament administered to the dying is Viaticum, that is communion, which is literally food for the journey.
As such, the dying person needs to still be able to take communion. A person who is no longer alert or able to take communion may still be given the Anointing of the Sick. In this instance the Sacrament is administers as the Last Rites, as those rites given at the end and the priests are committed to accompanying souls on this journey once contacted by a family and to offer spiritual support to the family.
It is best to bring your sick loved one to the attention of priests of the parish.