I wanted to write about end of life care and what happens after your loved one passes on. Over 4 years ago My family had moved in with my in-laws because my mother-in-law was having more and more health issues. In fact the year previous to us moving she had almost passed away due to a sudden bout of pneumonia. A few months later she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. We knew the end was coming and her main wish was to be at home when she passed. So, we all chipped in providing meals for her and assisting her get to the bathroom. Often she would fall asleep while eating and spill food all over herself and the bed. Having an extra set of sheets around was always a necessity. In fact we would need around 5 bedding sets ready to go because it seamed every meal she would fall asleep. If I had the time I would sit with her while she would eat and keep her awake. Sometimes my son who was 3 years old at the time would have breakfast with her. We would spread out a blanket and he would have picnics with his grandma.
On the afternoon of May, 8th 2015 She began having a very difficult time breathing. We all stood by vigilant. At one point my father-in-law called his children into the room one at a time to say good-bye. Night time came and we put children to bed then all of us sat in her room as my father-in-law checked her pulse periodically. It slowed so much that it didn’t register on the finger pulse oximeter. My father-in-law was a retired Airforce nurse so he began monitoring her heartbeat by hand. When her pulse faded the tears began to flow. After a good amount of time we knew we had to take care of logistics.
What do you do when your loved one has passed away at home?
- If your loved one was hooked up to any medical devices turn them off.
- Call an ambulance and have your family doctor’s phone number ready.
When the ambulance arrives they will need your family doctor to pronounce them dead and write up a death certificate.
- Call a caretaker to come store their body until funeral arrangements can be made.
The caretaker will want to know if you plan on doing an open casket, a closed casket, or cremation. They will need to know this because embalming must be done quickly if you will be doing an open casket.
- Work with the funeral home to make funeral arrangements. Most funeral homes are well versed in different religious beliefs and traditions. They should be more than accommodating. You should be given the choice to dress your loved with assistance of the funeral home can do it.
- If your loved one has CONTROLLED MEDICATION in the house DO NOT THROW IT AWAY! It will need to be returned to the doctor that wrote the prescription and THEY WILL COUNT THE PILLS!
Healing will take time. I highly recommend seeing a councilor even if you think your fine. Often we think we are doing good but our subconscious is still having trouble dealing with it. Please feel free to post questions or comments and I will answer them to the best of my ability.