Do you attend funerals? - page 2

I was just wondering how many of you attend a patients viewing or funeral? I've gone to two of my patients and it really seamed to help with the closure. Although, I was very disappointed to see... Read More

  1. by   kstec
    I just started Hospice and just had my first patient die. I only knew him for two weeks, but made about 5-6 visits to his house to address different issues. His wife was so sweet and so afraid of what was going to happen. She was still pondering the idea of even giving him Roxanol for pain, because she was thinking morpine was the defining moment of excepting his inevitable death. The day we discussed giving him Roxanol and she still didn't know, he died. He was on other pain meds but I don't think they were strong enough. I too was wondering do I go to the visitation or not? When you've seen someone at their weakest point it seems only obvious to comfort them when the death finally occurs, but is it or not? I'm waiting for his obituary now, but still am uncertain if this is something I want to start or not. When a patient you've just met and is terminally ill still has the livelihood to smile and say thank you, you almost feel obligated to go say goodbye. I don't know, I'll just play it by ear for now and see.
  2. by   rmw44
    I love that idea of a "heart shaped pillow made of white satin with a posy of red roses" - beautiful! where do you get the pillows?

    Robin
    --------------------------------------------
    Join the discussion:
    Spirituality of Dying Well
  3. by   sharona97
    Quote from kstec
    I just started Hospice and just had my first patient die. I only knew him for two weeks, but made about 5-6 visits to his house to address different issues. His wife was so sweet and so afraid of what was going to happen. She was still pondering the idea of even giving him Roxanol for pain, because she was thinking morpine was the defining moment of excepting his inevitable death. The day we discussed giving him Roxanol and she still didn't know, he died. He was on other pain meds but I don't think they were strong enough. I too was wondering do I go to the visitation or not? When you've seen someone at their weakest point it seems only obvious to comfort them when the death finally occurs, but is it or not? I'm waiting for his obituary now, but still am uncertain if this is something I want to start or not. When a patient you've just met and is terminally ill still has the livelihood to smile and say thank you, you almost feel obligated to go say goodbye. I don't know, I'll just play it by ear for now and see.
    I've learned alot relating to hospice and dying patients under the thread care at the time of death. Listed under specialty nurses F-25 Forum. The read is very interesting with many thought provoking subjects. I am not a hospice nurse,although after graduation I would like to enter this field. Just a thought!

    Good Luck in your career! I'm sure it's very difficult to help the family understand
    what their beloved' needs are at times.
  4. by   wonderbee
    I found too much sadness in doing hospice work 5 days and attending funerals too. There was a month when every week I lost one. It would have been hard to choose whose funerals I would attend. There are often condolence books online published in the local papers. I would many times write a little message of condolence. I left hospice work a couple of months ago. You guys have my respect and prayers.
  5. by   tencat
    Hospice nursing is not for everyone, that's for sure, and understandably so. I try to go to as many funerals as I can, but sometimes I'm so overloaded with patients that I have no time to do so. Families seem to really appreciate it when we go. Sometimes I feel a little like I'm in the movie "Harold and Maude" (teenager and old lady meet eachother attending various funerals of people they don't even know), but it's good to go.
  6. by   saribeth
    I do go to the funeral home if I am close to the pt and family (which usually happens) and I almost always write a note...I do it for me and I know the families appreciate it...professional boundries now that's a very interesting topic...NHPCO just had an audio conference about it...anyone listen to it?
  7. by   suanna
    We have the "Death Squad Girls" on my unit- 2-3 nurses that feel it's necessary to attend a patients funeral. AAGGGHHH! This is a PRIVATE time for friends and family to pay thier respects to a lost loved one. Were we friends? Are we family? Either way we should not have been the patients nurse. I feel this is a blatant violation of the nurse patient relationship. It may by different for hospice care where a peaceful passing is the nurses goal but for most families a nurse at the funeral is just a painful reminder of a difficult time. Many families who lose someone take a bit more time before the stop wondering if something more could have been done.- Do you really think the nurse that they are wondering about "how good was the quality of care" would be helpful for the at that time? It can even be construed as "the nurse must have been feeling guilty about what happened". Acceptance comes later. Despite the liability ramifications I think this most likely to be hurtful for the family and downright intrusive.
  8. by   Sabby_NC
    Oh Suanna I appreciate your thoughts but I disagree with your comment that having a nurse at the funeral is a painful reminder of a difficult time.
    In Hospice we start right from admission of the patient and educate what to expect as the pt and family transition through the dying process.
    If able too, going to the funeral gives closure for family and us as professionals. Families have quite often stated to me, 'You really did care about our Mum or Dad didn't you?' By being there to support is a wonderful act of love.
    I have to say I did not attend funerals when I worked in the Hospital setting and had pts die. I struggle with why they would want to go in that instance other than looking after the pt for quite a while before they died, but for the 'Hospice' line of work it is an important part of what we do.
    It is far from being intrusive.
  9. by   suanna
    Quote from Sabby_NC
    Oh Suanna I appreciate your thoughts but I disagree with your comment that having a nurse at the funeral is a painful reminder of a difficult time.
    In Hospice we start right from admission of the patient and educate what to expect as the pt and family transition through the dying process.
    If able too, going to the funeral gives closure for family and us as professionals. Families have quite often stated to me, 'You really did care about our Mum or Dad didn't you?' By being there to support is a wonderful act of love.
    I have to say I did not attend funerals when I worked in the Hospital setting and had pts die. I struggle with why they would want to go in that instance other than looking after the pt for quite a while before they died, but for the 'Hospice' line of work it is an important part of what we do.
    It is far from being intrusive.
    Like I said -Hospice may be different from other areas of nursing care in that the peaceful where the passing of the patient is the goal. These families may be further along in the grieving process than someone who has lost a loved one unexpectedly.
  10. by   Sabby_NC
    Quote from suanna
    Like I said -Hospice may be different from other areas of nursing care in that the peaceful where the passing of the patient is the goal. These families may be further along in the grieving process than someone who has lost a loved one unexpectedly.

    Yeah I understand what you are saying for sure. I know when I had patients die in hospital I never attended the funeral. I never thought of doing that nor anyone else I worked with.
  11. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from suanna
    We have the "Death Squad Girls" on my unit- 2-3 nurses that feel it's necessary to attend a patients funeral. AAGGGHHH! This is a PRIVATE time for friends and family to pay thier respects to a lost loved one. Were we friends? Are we family? Either way we should not have been the patients nurse. I feel this is a blatant violation of the nurse patient relationship. It may by different for hospice care where a peaceful passing is the nurses goal but for most families a nurse at the funeral is just a painful reminder of a difficult time. Many families who lose someone take a bit more time before the stop wondering if something more could have been done.- Do you really think the nurse that they are wondering about "how good was the quality of care" would be helpful for the at that time? It can even be construed as "the nurse must have been feeling guilty about what happened". Acceptance comes later. Despite the liability ramifications I think this most likely to be hurtful for the family and downright intrusive.
    i can go to wakes, knowing i gave my personal and professional best.
    in hospice, the nurse is quickly embraced as an integral part of the family.
    even when families don't want you giving a narcotic, i remind them it is the pt's pain i am treating.
    when all is said and done, they are most appreciative of ensuring everything possible was done to abate all pain.
    i can assure you, i have never felt guilty.
    if i sense a family is having difficulty in acceptance, i will not attend.
    but i always send a personal note.

    leslie
  12. by   rmw44
    From a family member's perspective, when my mother-in-law passed away, seeing hospice staff attend the funeral was like an "honorable mention" for the moment. We all felt totally blessed that the nurses would take time out of their day for the funeral of someone they barely got to know.

    That's the great part about hospice. The staff know how to recognize if their presence is really wanted or not and every family is not treated the same.
  13. by   Sabby_NC
    Quote from rmw44
    From a family member's perspective, when my mother-in-law passed away, seeing hospice staff attend the funeral was like an "honorable mention" for the moment. We all felt totally blessed that the nurses would take time out of their day for the funeral of someone they barely got to know.

    That's the great part about hospice. The staff know how to recognize if their presence is really wanted or not and every family is not treated the same.
    Thank you so much for this post.
    Your comments reassured what I do and why I do it.

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