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Practical advice and comfort measures for caregivers present during the death of a loved one

No matter how long your loved one’s death has been anticipated, it will still be devastating and traumatic.

There is no need to advise the Police of the death if the patient has been a Hospice Patient. Call the Hospice Nurse. The Hospice Nurse will give you the go-ahead to contact the undertaker.

This final leave-taking can be a difficult time. You may wish to spend time with the body of the person who has died, reminiscing and saying good-bye.

Before the funeral home attendants arrive, you may want to bathe and/or dress the person or send special objects or notes with him or her. You may prefer to choose the clothes you want the person to wear and give them to the attendants, or you can bring them to your meeting at the funeral home.

When the funeral home attendants arrive, they will move the body to a stretcher in preparation for leaving. The body will be placed in a special zippered bag made for the purpose of transport.

Consider whether or not you wish to be present when the person’s body is removed. You may wish to remain with the body or you may want to leave, go into another room or go for a walk while the stretcher is taken out.

It’s very important that you designate someone or a few people either in your family or who are close friends to get the word out about the death of the loved one. You never want to have someone hear that a person he/she cared about has died by overhearing another person talking about it in the supermarket checkout aisle.

Memorial or funeral plans can be made or confirmed at an appointment with the funeral home the next day.

Ask your health care team about local bereavement resources available from the hospice society or other services in your community. Even normal grieving can have a profound impact on you and support can be beneficial for your on-going health.

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