Caring for patients after death
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Caring for patients after death

Natalie Pattison Nurse researcher, Critical Care Nursing, Royal Marsden Hospital, London

Caring for a patient who has died is the final act that a nurse will carry out for a patient. Traditionally steeped in ritual, and often referred to as last offices, this act can achieve closure for the nurse and the family. Awareness of families’ needs and subsequent support is essential. This article discusses some of the practical considerations and reactions to death that nurses can encounter. Pertinent information that families might need to know about the death of their loved one and care provision for different groups of patients are described. This article should be read in conjunction with a clinical skills article published in Nursing Standard that outlined the practical processes of care for patients who have died (Pattison 2008).

Correspondence natalie.pattison@rmh.nhs.uk

Nursing Standard. 22, 51,48-56. doi: 10.7748/ns2008.08.22.51.48.c6646

Published in print: 27 August 2008

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review