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LPN's role for grieving families

newdmh newdmh (New) New

Does anyone know of specific roles for a LPN when dealing with grieving families that experienced an unexpected death? I can find info on the RN's roles, but are there any things that can not be delegated to the LPN in this situation. This would be for a class project I am working on.


classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

Ask if anyone needs to be called (family/chaplain)

Ask about comfort measures (anyone need coffee?) I know this sounds like a servant role, but many family members appreciate little kindnesses

Treat the body with respect. Clean the patient and the room if needed.

Put a sign on the door about no visitors then tell the family that does not apply to them (or whatever your facility recommends so that dietary and housekeeping do not interrupt the family)

Know facility policies. Does the social worker need to be notifed? In a hospital the House Supervisor needs to be notified, and perhaps others.

Someone needs to call the attending MD

Get your documentation caught up as the chart may be hard to locate

You may be asked about organ donation, when the body will be ready for viewing, etc. The OPO in your area responds to organ donation questions and the funeral director answers the other question. The most you could do is offer a phone and privacy.


Has 35 years experience.

I guess I could Google "RN roles dealing with grieving families." But honestly what does letters after your name have to do with compassion?

If a LVN knew the patient or family, had had some interactions with them, and had the time (wasn't taking care of 15 living patients) the LVN would be perfectly appropriate. You can substitute CNA, MD, RN, for LVN!!!!

Or are you talking about long term, leading some kind of group or one on one counseling therapy dealing with sudden death???


Specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

What does your title have to do with you being a compassionate human being...RN or LPN...doesn't matter. Be there for the family.

I think this is more in general. The topic is Coping with Sudden unexpected death of a loved one. My part is to find info about the role of the lpn in assisting a family/loved one to cope with sudden, unexpected death.

Thanks for all the input!!


Specializes in LTC.

I really don't see how it's different between the LPN/RN

NurseLoveJoy88, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC. Has 6 years experience.

I think it depends on the facility. Some facilities may have the RN actually assess to for BP and Pulse to call time of death. Where I work it was only us LPNs so we did determine the time of death and then called the fam, doc, and DON. We also offered support to the greiving family. I really can't see much differences to be honest.

iNurseUK, RN

Specializes in Plastics. General Surgery. ITU. Oncology. Has 20 years experience.

Neither do I. AlthoughI gather LPN's are much more highly skilled and better trained than our UK Health Care Assistants which is the nearest comparison it really dosen't matter what your title is.

I have seen HCA's comfort bereaved families beautifully and RGN's failing horribly. This sort of thing seems to be an innate skill.