Nursing Care of the Dead

 Death is one of the two aspects of life that will happen to everyone. Whether the death is sudden and unexpected, or ongoing and expected, nurses should provide information and help to address the impact of death to the dying and to the family.


  • To prepare the body for the morgue.
  • To prevent discoloration or deformity of the body.
  • To protect the body from post mortem discharge.


  • Prepare in a tray the following:
  • Basin of warm water, a basin of lysol solution 2%
  • Soap in dish, pair of scissors, comb or brush
  • Bath towel and washcloth
  • Surgical dressings p.r.n.
  • Mortuary pack: shroud, diaper sheet 2 death tags, non-absorbent cotton, pins, bandages, forceps.
  • Bed screen


Points to Remember

  • Respect the dead body. Avoid unnecessary exposure and irrelevant conversations.
  • The body should be identified properly.
  • Clothing’s, jewelry and other valuables or belongings must be kept and cared for properly.


Here are the steps in providing nursing care for the dead.

  1. The patient has pronounced dead by the doctor, place the body in dorsal position with only a small pillow under the head.
  2. Straighten the body.
  3. See that dentures are placed in the mouth if patient has any
  4. Remove all appliances; catheters, drainage tubings, Venoclysis sets, etc.
  5. Close the eyes and mouth when open.
  6. Eyes—bring upper lid down to the lower and apply gentle pressure over it for a while.
  7. Mouth—bring the jaws together by placing a rolled towel under the chin.
  8. Remove extra bed linen and camisa. Leave one sheet to cover the body.
  9. Bathe the body using the Lysol solution to rinse.
  10. Change surgical dressings p.r.n. Pack anus with cotton. Vagina (if female). If there is any discharge from the nose and mouth, pack them too. Use forceps.
  11. Place the diaper.
  12. Full hands over the chest. Pad wrists with cotton and the tie the 2 wrists together with bandage. Attach one tag to the wrist.
  13. Pad the ankles and tie them together.
  14. Put on the shroud. Wrap body with a sheet well. Attach the other tag at the center
  15. Cover the prepared body with a sheet and notify the head nurse or call for the messenger to take the body to the morgue.


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