How To Help When Some Is Dying

What do families need when a loved one is dying?

What have you needed in the past? ________________________

The basics:

o   Rest

o   Nutrition

o   Disengaging with outside demands

o   Help with responsibilities

o   Time to cry and grieve as death is occurring

o   Help with kids being impacted if needed

o   A support system of your choice

o   Not to have people present you don’t want there- if you are the primary and your loved one does not want or need them there.

o   A comfortable chair at the bedside

The biggest? Education about what is happening.

o   Do you know what to expect?

o   Does your family?

o   Does your loved one?

What do you understand about the dying process?

What do you understand about the comfort care interventions?

Does anyone think that CPR should be initiated?

Do you have a safe place to talk with someone in confidence?

To vent?

Can you give yourself permission to take a break and leave the room?

Do you need spiritual support?

Has advance planning been done for:

o   Funeral care?

o   Obituary?

o   Cemetery?

o   Are clothes picked out for the deceased leaving the house or hospital?

o   Have you considered wanting to help bathe and dress afterward?

o   Have you set limits on others (if you are primary) regarding removing “stuff?” If you’re not primary, has it been discussed?

o   Do you know who to call after the death occurs?

     What’s the business end of death at the time of death?

If you are at home: Call hospice if they are involved, or emergency if not

Hospital/SNF : They will call you if you’re not there

 For all: You will need a mortuary provider

If the coroner has to be involved, they may take the deceased initially, then release to the provider.

NOK need to be listed with phone numbers and addresses.

If there is a POA that should list who may make decisions. If not, the mortuary can tell you the order of priority for decision makers. If the decision making falls to adult children, 51% must sign for arrangements.

The mortuary prepares the death certificate- it’s not yours to deal with. Keep that off your plate. You have enough

If you are interring/burying you will need to purchase a plot.

If you have a pre-paid arrangements, there will still be costs that can’t be included and will need to be paid.

Most survivors in the immediate time after a death have difficulty with good judgment, but may not know it. Some suggestions:

·       Do not drive

·       Eat even if you aren’t hungry

·       Lay down even if you can’t sleep

·       Let the professionals help: your funeral director can order flowers and help with sites for services and receptions, and even caterers.  They frequently have discounts made available they pass on to you (unless they are a large chain, such as “Dignity/SCI.”)

·       Family owned mortuaries are almost always less expensive, and offer discounts chains do not allow.

·       Allow others to help, but don’t relinquish your needs being met in terms of the service or anything else.

·       Don’t allow anyone to dispose of clothes, sheets, etc. unless you or the primary survivor are ready.

·       Arrange for someone to watch the house during the service

·       Cremations can be witnessed, but you need to decide of that’s something you want to see.

·       Don’t expect anything from yourself until you feel ready. Immediate grief is a tough time, even if you thought you were ready.