Care After Death
Rigor mortis: is stiffening of the body 2 to 4 hours after death. Results from a lack of ATP which causes the muscles to contract which in turn immobilizes the joints. Starts in involuntary muscles, then progresses to the head, neck, and trunk, and finally reaches the extremities. It usually leaves the body about 96 hours after death.
Algor mortis: is the gradual decrease of body temperature after death. When blood circulation ceases, the hypothalamus stops to function and the body temperature falls about IC ( 1.8 deg. F) per hour until it reaches room temperature. Skin loses its elasticity and can be easily broken when removing dressing and adhesive tapes
Livor mortis- after circulation has ceased the RBC breaks down releasing haemoglobin, which discolour the surrounding tissues.
Declaration of death:
Should know- whether there is an autopsy or an inquest. If it is a medico legal case, it should be brought to the brought to the notice of legal authorities.
Care of Body:
· A bodv should be cared for immediately after death and before rigor mortis develops.
· Remove all appliances used for the care of the client.
· All jexvellery are removed, listed and given to the closest relative and receipt is obtained for the delivery.
· Clean the bodv. Using strong disinfectant carefully wash the entire body.
· Then body is placed in normal anatomical position.
· Normally the body is placed in a supine position with the arms either at the sides, palms down, or across the abdomen
· The eyes are closed as in sleep and the body is straightened with the arms laid at the sides.(or across abdomen)
· Any dentures if removed is replaced and the mouth is closed.
· Plug all orifices with cotton to prevent the escape of bodily discharges
· Place a perineal pad or diaper under the buttocks to prevent the escape of urine and stool
· Bathe the body and comb the hair (special situations??)
· Elevate the head on a pillow and place a folded towel under the chin to keep it propped up.
· Bandages are used to keep the mouth closed.
· Tie the thumbs of the hands and the great toes of the feet together
· An identification tag with the client’s name, age, address, ward, bed no, date, time and cause of death are attached to the head after the body is wrapped in a mortuary sheet.
· The body is wrapped in a shroud,
· A large piece of plastic or cotton material used to enclose a body after death.
· Client’s chart with all the details about the cause of death is sent to the office which registers births and deaths.
Care of dead-AIDS patient:
· Plug all orifices well.
· Cover open wounds with ‘Water proof dressing
· Bleaching powder should be kept inside the plastic sheets
· Tie the bag well.
· Label the body; label the sheets covering the body, label the bag in which the body is kept. suggest the relatives not to open the bag once it is closed
· Cremation is the best procedure to dispose the dead
Care of the unit:
After the dead body is removed from the room the room should be treated as in case of
“discharge of the patient”
Caring for the family:
- Listen to the family’s expressions of grief, loss and helplessness
- Arrangement to view the body
- Provide them a private place to begin their grieving
Caring for other patients:
Other patients need to be consoled. Grief reactions?