Post mortem care

  1. 0
    I have recently been present at two pt deaths where the Crisis Care nurse (yes, they were hospice nurses) did not make an attempt to wash the body. One told me "They just had a bath this morning", the other said "well, they're not dirty and besides, they'll wash them at the funeral home". This makes me crazy!!!! I don't care if the patient was washed up 1/2 prior to death - you wash the body up due to any possible secretions present, and as a sign of respect and caring. Or am I wrong? I went ahead and washed the bodies up, anyway. The nurse looked at me like I was nuts.... Oh, and about powder. This one nurse just dumped powder all other the deceased man's chest "so he would smell good when his wife kissed him". How about smelling good 'cause he's clean!???? Is this too petty to report to someone??? (yes, I can be a bit anal, I know....
    Thanks,
    mc3
  2. 75 Comments so far...

  3. 5
    I always get you know what for washing them, but I do it anyway. I do this out of respect, but also if the family comes in, I don't want them to see blood, fluids, etc. True, the undertakers will wash them once they get to the funeral home, but they aren't at the funeral home yet.
  4. 1
    I always wash and change them out of respect.It is the last thing you can do for anyone to send them to their Maker in a clean and decent fashion.
    We used to have to pack all orifices as well but this practice was discontinued at the request of the undertakers who just had to undo all our work.
    mc3 likes this.
  5. 1
    Well, I'll be honest...until I joined this message board, I didn't know there was a such thing as post-mortem care.

    When we were at one of our clinicals when someone died, and some of us came in to observe post-mortem care, just about every student turned around and said, "What?"...not at the fact we had to watch it, but the fact it was done at all.

    In a home situation, if the funeral home is coming right away, I don't see the need to go overboard with it...and I'll tell you why I feel that way...I don't see it as being disrespectful to the deceased...some family members would rather not witness it unless there is something that has a very offensive odor that needs to be cleaned.

    No way would I want to see any level of "preparation" of a loved one...they were dying...pull the covers up and let them rest in peace until the appropriate caregivers come.

    In a hospital, to me, it's different...the family leaves, and it's just helping out the funeral home...but I see it differently in a hospice situation.
    mc3 likes this.
  6. 4
    I alway ask the family if they want to stay or leave. I also ask if there is a favorite shirt or blouse - many have wanted to stay and help as a last, loving gesture. Others prefer to stay in the other room. I still believe it's a sign of respect!
    mc3
  7. 10
    i personally try to do some form of post mortem care on every pt that dies on my time.
    many expel urine/feces either at time of death or soon afterwards.
    also, some haven't had a good bath r/t the acuity of their disease.

    if anything, i ensure all lines/caths are pulled, hair brushed, peri area cleaned w/attends put on, dentures clean and placed, and quick shave.

    i promise all my pts from day 1, to honor their presence from beginning to end.
    and that's exactly what i do.

    leslie
  8. 2
    Quote from mc3
    I have recently been present at two pt deaths where the Crisis Care nurse (yes, they were hospice nurses) did not make an attempt to wash the body. One told me "They just had a bath this morning", the other said "well, they're not dirty and besides, they'll wash them at the funeral home". This makes me crazy!!!! I don't care if the patient was washed up 1/2 prior to death - you wash the body up due to any possible secretions present, and as a sign of respect and caring. Or am I wrong? I went ahead and washed the bodies up, anyway. The nurse looked at me like I was nuts.... Oh, and about powder. This one nurse just dumped powder all other the deceased man's chest "so he would smell good when his wife kissed him". How about smelling good 'cause he's clean!???? Is this too petty to report to someone??? (yes, I can be a bit anal, I know....
    Thanks,
    mc3
    I alwyas, pull the catheter, clean the body, change the gown, comb their hair and spray the room with air freshner (a small bottle I carry with me, has a nice fresh scent). I can not imagine someone thinking it is not okay or simply not doing it. One of our nurses actually got written up for not doing it when a funeral home complained. (I guess the man threw up on himself, etc and the new RN, a male nurse, never cleaned the body and just sent him on his way). I thought this was taught in nursing 101.
    leslie :-D and mc3 like this.
  9. 0
    For patients that are already pretty clean, I might just clean their bottom, pull foley, wash their face and brush their hair. I don't think it is necessary to wash the whole body.
  10. 2
    Quote from earle58
    i personally try to do some form of post mortem care on every pt that dies on my time.
    many expel urine/feces either at time of death or soon afterwards.
    also, some haven't had a good bath r/t the acuity of their disease.

    if anything, i ensure all lines/caths are pulled, hair brushed, peri area cleaned w/attends put on, dentures clean and placed, and quick shave.

    i promise all my pts from day 1, to honor their presence from beginning to end.
    and that's exactly what i do.

    leslie
    That's cause you're Awesome, Leslie!
    redding-er-rn and leslie :-D like this.
  11. 1
    I have never heard of a RN or CNA, or anyone doing postmotem care....except a Mortician. A dead human body has to be treated in a certain way. This is what Morticians learn in Mortuary College. Changing a person's clothes after death, washing the body, closing the eyes and mouth are a Mortician's job....not a Nurse!

    If you pull too hard on an eyelid and break the skin it will leak for hours after the body is embalmed. A scratch to an arm after death will also leak after embalming. All sorts of dammage that can be done by a well meaning Nurse. Any dammage to the skin after death will be a problem after embalming. Running a brush through someone's hair will leave marks on the scalp....many problems will occur during and after embalming if the body was not cared for by someone who is trained to take care of the dead. Washing, drying, moving arms and legs, closing eyes and mouth are all things that will dammage the tissues.

    The correct thing to do is to cover the body with a sheet and call the Funeral Home or the Coroner. You should never fuss with a Coroners Case because you'll destroy evidence.

    Nurses care for the sick and dying......Morticians care for the dead!
    AnabelRN likes this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top