Forum Discussion

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Sarah 1st Jul 2016 Nurse Manager
I'm a Nurse Manager at a rest home/hospital level aged care facility. We are trying to figure out the best way to notify residents of a death in the facility. We have many ideas but it is hard to know what is best. The only time everyone is together is at mealtimes but it seems wrong to announce a death and have a time of reflection right before everybody is about to have a meal. What do other places do?
Morgan 5th Jul 2016 Diversional therapist
firstly I forwarn them that there co resident is not well.....and this is done they are prepared for the end. If it is some one who is socially very contected I will in the early stages of dying encourage a visit, often going along with them. Friendships are maintained as much a possible. THe staff often will tell a resident that some one has died and I will tell the group at morning tea. This is done carefully and does change in approach depending on who has died and how they are connected to the social group. I ask if anyone wishes to go to the funeral or if they would like to hold one of our own. The latter is often the choise, These rituals are highly personal..I gather names of attendies..what they would like to do in the celebration of this life (poems songs remeniscence we decide when we are going to do this and gather in an intimate group and give our best for this person.(inform staff ..either to attend or keep the meeting area quiet and private) I then form a order of service and lead the ritual thru our intentions. not all residents want to do this and this is creates a clear group with a clear intention..we however as a whole group send a card to the family ..with notes of honor and respect fo this person..I guess to do this you have to be first comfortable with death and the implications on us as a social group. Embrase this phase of life as normal and bring forward what we culturally normally do with in our communities. Allow the residendents to decide what they would like to do...hugely important and it will surprise you the talents and care in which a service will unfold be prepared for some real heart rendering beautiful wise wonderful ritual content. The closer the friendship bond with the one who has died the more one to one care is required.
Janine 5th Jul 2016 Lifestyle Assistant
There is no wrong or right way to do this, we have an large cabinet in our "general area" it has a shelf with battery operated candles and some lovely plants and we place a large framed picture with birth date and RIP date, for all to see
Donna 5th Jul 2016 Recreation
I wouldn't make any type of announcement . It generally upsets residents and why make them think about something they may not be thinking about. However if someone asks you where a person might be my answer would depend on an individual basis. For example for someone who is secure and doesn't have dementia and is free of anxiety I might they'll them they passed away and ask them not to share it with anyone because it might upset them. Others who have dementia might become very anxious and with the memory might forget and if reminded might relive the experience over and over again. The thought of death make others very anxious because it will trigger thought of thier own death. Some people are not dealing with reality especially those with Alzheimer's they are living in the past at times. I have residents in their 80s who still ask me if I've seen thier mother or father today and if they can go see them. My response is generally " no I haven't seen them but mane they will stop by later or I think they are working. Then we move on to an activity and all is good and the anxiety is put to rest. It's all about the resident and making the day as good as possible for them.
Maria 6th Jul 2016
It really depends on the group you have. Like Donna said, if there is a high number of dementia patients it may not be a good idea to make a group announcement. However, with a high functioning group I would at least tell the resident's close friends in person/private. A memorial area is good, with a picture of the departed, but you need to have a set time limit to leave the photos up as some people will relive their grief over and over. You can also let residents write cards etc. and place them with the pictures.
Vanessa 25th Jul 2016 RAO
If you have a Chaplin in your facility it is a good idea to get them to speak one to one with residents that had been close to the resident that had passed away.

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