Hey guys, I want to take a moment to
talk to you about a really difficult topic.
We're going to talk today about
care of the deceased client.
I'm going to tell you straight off,
this is a really difficult topic.
In me, I can remember as a new nurse,
the first time I ever experienced this.
I remember really vividly of when the patient passed.
When I was taking care of the
client, I just remember thinking,
this is kind of invasive and uncomfortable.
But then after I provided that care to
provide respect and dignity for that client,
I tried my best to make sure the
patient looked as much like themselves
for when the family came in to view the
patient and just provide that comfort.
One little thing I remember me
and my colleagues, what we did
is this particular patient had
a favorite shade of lipstick.
We applied this before the family came
in and I just remember making an impact
and making some of the family smile.
So again, this is a really difficult topic, but
we're going to talk through some things to consider
when you're caring for the deceased client.
So there's quite a few nursing responsibilities
when we're talking about a deceased client
and the passing of your patient.
The guys, first and foremost
is going to be the family.
Just know, this is a really difficult time and
each experience is going to vary a little bit
but this is important for the nurse to be a
shoulder to cry on, to be there for the family
and also make sure that when the
family comes to view their loved one,
that the environment is supportive to do so.
You can even simply pull up some extra
chairs in the room, provide Kleenex,
but just know our family time
with our patient is really important.
You want to provide uninterrupted
time as much as possible.
So one tip to think about is that many
times in the hospital or other facilities,
we may know that the patient's
going to pass, sometimes.
It's not a bad idea, if you can, to find a
point of contact, get funeral home information
because once the patient passes,
this is a really special time
that we don't want to interrupt as the nurse.
So we have that information ready if needed.
Also know, there's some legal requirements
that come with a patient passing.
The patient may be an autopsy case, for
example, or an organ and tissue donation.
So just know, there's many
responsibilities, but again,
don't forget that our family is first and foremost.
So let's talk about some things that we're
going to need to help provide respect,
dignity and care for our patients.
It could be bathing supplies, cotton balls.
And after the patient has passed,they
may have certain identification
or body wraps that we may need for our patient.
Also clean sheets, absorbent pads.
It's also really important to make sure
we gather those patient's belongings
because those are really important pieces
that the family members may want for them.
So before we get started, perform your
hand hygiene and put on your gloves.
We want to raise the bed to
an appropriate working height
and place the deceased client on a supine position.
While taking care of our client,
if the client wore dentures,
this is a good time to go ahead and
place them back in the client's mouth.
Now we want to go ahead
and close the patient's eyelids.
Now if they will not close, a tip is to place
a moistened cotton ball over their eyelids
for a few minutes before
re-attempting to close their eyes.
We can also place a folded towel beneath
the patient's chin to keep the mouth closed.
And it's important to make sure we turn all
equipment off and even remove it from the room.
Now, just know if a patient has extra lines,
tubes, drains, we want to remove this.
And if there's any puncture sites, for
example, we're going to cover these.
But one really important to note
as a nurse, some patient deaths
are what we call a medical examiner case.
So if that's the case, otherwise
known as the M.E. case,
We're going to make sure that we leave all
lines, all dressings, all of these have to stay.
Now, when we go to clean the patient's body,
we're going to use our bathing supplies.
We're going to place any soiled dressings,
make sure the bed linens are clean
and that means even the stuff underneath the patient.
Now we can cover the client all the
way up to the chin with clean linens.
Once we've done this and the family has
had their time to spend with a patient,
we may need to identify the client with
whatever hospital policy that you may use.
Now, once we finish, we're going to remove
our gloves, perform our hand hygiene
and make sure all the client's
belongings are gathered together.
So it depends on your facility's policy.
At this point, sometimes we can go ahead
and give those to the family member
but sometimes they have to be
identified and sent to security.
So just make sure you follow your agency's policy.
We're going to perform hand hygiene
and then document the procedure.
Now, guys, before we go today,
again, this is a pretty heavy topic.
I just want you to know as a
nurse, it is okay to feel emotions.
It is a difficult time, you've spent
a lot of time with this patient.
There's going to be times you feel
emotional, you may even cry with the family
and that's perfectly okay.
I do want to say, though, as a nurse, we
are the people that the family looks for,
for comfort and for what to do in this situation.
It is okay to show emotions, to
share stories maybe about the client
but also know, we are their
strong pillar during this journey
to make sure they can grieve
and be with their family.