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Do you attend patient funerals?

Posted

Specializes in Acute Care Pediatrics. Has 4 years experience.

I hear mixed reviews on this. Discuss. :)

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

I have just a couple of times in the past 37 years. All were infants.

One was a patient whose mother and I had worked together at a different facility prior to the baby's birth.

One was a long term patient whose parents were on the housekeeping staff at the hospital, and were well-known to all of us before the child was even born.

The last was a home care patient who passed VERY suddenly and completely unexpectedly. Mom had just had dad walk out on her prior to the death, and I just felt compelled to support her.

yes, sometimes.

it depends upon the situation.

I am more likely to attend the visitation not the funeral.

For hospice professionals, in particular, it is often part of the POC as well as part of self care when dealing with repetitive and cummulative loss.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

Typically not funerals but I will go to the wakes if I am around. I don't like listening to pastors talking about how God needed these angels (children) in Heaven so that's why he gave them cancer or some other nonsense, which is why I usually choose to opt out of the funerals.

nursel56

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 45 years experience.

Yes, I've attended funerals since becoming a private-duty nurse. I wouldn't hesitate to attend the funeral of a child who I'd known and who's family I'd known for a long time through all the ordeals they go through. It means a lot to the families, who see medical and nursing staff as the only stable things in a sea of devastation after losing their child.

I learned that "on the other side of the bed" a very long time ago when my little brother was in treatment for ALL (he is a survivor!)

Ruas61, BSN, RN

Specializes in MDS/ UR. Has 39 years experience.

I will go to a viewing but not sit through a service. It is rare and has to be someone I have connected on a deep level.

Not_A_Hat_Person, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

I've only wanted to go to one client's funeral. She died while I was on maternity leave, and I found out about her death about a month later.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

In almost a decade of nursing, I have never attended any patient's funeral. I typically do not form profound, deep connections with patients or their families that would prompt me to go to their funerals.

I have only wanted to go to one patient's funeral, but by the time I had found out she died, the funeral service had already taken place.

I should mention that my paternal grandmother was a nursing home resident who died in 1995 when I was 14 years old. One of her nurses showed up to the funeral service to pay final respects and I'll never forget that.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

I have attended two funerals and a couple of wakes in 35 years.

It has to be something special for me.

nursehaley91, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, Neuro-trauma. Has 5 years experience.

Since I work LTC, I tend to form attachments to my patients. But despite that, I've only attended a handful of funerals and viewings. Those are usually the ones that I've had very close bonds with. Although I end up feeling guilty for attending some and not others.

I have attended the funerals of 2 former patients. One was when I was a CNA, the patient had been a "frequent flyer" towards the end of his life and I took care of him often. His sister was also one of our nurses which added to the devastation of his passing for the entire floor. The other was a young guy with a wife and young kids with a new spinal cord injury. A new SCI patient can spend 6+ weeks in rehab so developing attachments is easy to do. Then add in all the complications from from his injury that resulted in functional decline and more rehab stays. He spent as much of his final years with us as he did with his family, so when he passed away he all took it hard and a couple of us traveled out of town to his funeral.

Biffbradford

Specializes in ICU.

Guess I'll be the bad guy again. No. No matter how much I worked with them during their illness, it is still a JOB. Unless I knew them outside of healthcare before hand, no.

nursel56

Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 45 years experience.

Guess I'll be the bad guy again. No. No matter how much I worked with them during their illness, it is still a JOB. Unless I knew them outside of healthcare before hand, no.

I respect that just as much as I would those who differ in their approach. We need to support the right of nurses to be true to themselves in special circumstances like these!

Ruas61, BSN, RN

Specializes in MDS/ UR. Has 39 years experience.

Guess I'll be the bad guy again. No. No matter how much I worked with them during their illness, it is still a JOB. Unless I knew them outside of healthcare before hand, no.

Doesn't make you a bad guy.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I go more often to the visitation but i have gone a few funerals as well.

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

I freq attended viewings. One DOESN'T need to form DEEP attachments to the pts. It's just something done for a pt or family with which one had a positive connection. I worked LTC so I guess that with the long stays of our residents we develop attachments much like PDN and HH nurses do. Same with kiddos, rehab and 'freq flyers'.

In all the services that I attended, it was always positive. Usually families were sincerely appreciative and moved that someone from the facility cared enough to attend a service. Sometimes I would note other nurses and/or other dept staff, like Social Service or Activities would also attend.

Something that always struck me was that this was an opportunity to view the decedent AT PEACE. So often we see them at the end when they are connected with a tube in every orifice or in pain and struggling. Sometimes WE need the closure experience also.

As a CNA I worked in LTC and we had a resident who passed. She had no family, the staff of the facility basically were her family/friends. Many of us attended her service and paid last respects to her.

imintrouble, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC Rehab Med/Surg. Has 16 years experience.

Never have and never will. How can you possibly anticipate the reaction of the family unless you knew them before? I would not want a person from the hospital where my loved one died, to attend the funeral.

One of our managers thought it would boost survey scores if a nurse attended the funeral of our patients who died. We were to take turns as a representative of the hospital. Even if the person was a complete stranger.

That was one of the dumbest things I've ever heard, in the name of Press Gainey. As far as I know, none of our nurses agreed to go.