What is it about?

Providing care after death is a fundamental aspect of nursing care. This article aims to increase understanding of the cultural, legal and health and safety considerations in preparation for providing personal care after death. A step by step guide to performing personal care is also provided, supported by contemporary literature and guidelines.

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Why is it important?

Care after death not only incorporates the personal care of the deceased, but also takes into consideration the cultural, religious and spiritual needs of the patient and family whilst keeping mindful of the legal requirements and adhering to local policies and guidelines. It is therefore imperative, that the nurse carrying out this procedure, is not only equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience, but also performs this duty of care with sensitivity, empathy and compassion, whilst preserving the patient’s dignity always.


One of the "anxieties" that my first year student nurses raise prior to going on clinical placement for the first time, is about performing care after death. As a result, we wanted to write an article that would not only provide them with a "how to" guide, but also provide them with an overview of the legal, cultural and health and safety considerations. I hope this article will provide nurses with the knowledge and skills required to carry out this procedure with sensitivity and compassion.

Helen Merlane
Northumbria University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Care after death, British Journal of Nursing, March 2019, Mark Allen Group, DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2019.28.6.342.
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