Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Last Office

Around late evening, AZ told me one of his patient passed away. Under the guidance of a Sister (in case some of the Peeps do not know who's Sister, it is what we call a nurse who holds a high rank or position in the ward.), AZ and I removed all the medical equipment that are attached to the deceased. After that the two of us were told to get the sponging trolley, shroud, apron, gloves and the necessary documents.

And thus, my 1st Last Office begins.

We begin by removing the decease's pajamas and clean his body. Thereafter, we help to dress him up in his own clothes. During the procedure, we still speak to the deceased. We ask him to help us to turn him, put on the sleeves, etc as hearing is the last time to go. Although he had passed away, we will still respect the dead. After dressing him, we cover him with a white shroud. After his family had view him for the last time, we then cover his face. A blue tag is attached to the shroud and all we have to do now is wait for the Peeps from the mortuary to can collect the deceased.


Throughout the whole procedure, rigor mortis (stiffening of the whole body) did not set in and the body is still warm. Thus it is like helping a sleeping patient to change clothes. The two staff that were with me did not show any emotions. I understand that it had been a routine to them. But what surprises me is that I too did not feel any fear or anxiety. Maybe I feel (or the lack of) this way because it is not the first time I handle this kinda things. I've heard from my friends that some feels very scared, one even quit nursing after doing the procedure.

Facing death is part and parcel of the Nursing profession. I believe that nurses should learn not to get too emotional when handling deaths. By doing so, we can ensure every possible things that can be done by us are done properly for the deceased and their families. On other hand, One should not get too comfortable with deaths as well.

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