People working in mortuaries in NHS hospitals have an important and challenging role. They have to balance a number of different needs – providing an effective, efficient, safe and secure service, while at the same time treating bereaved families respectfully and sensitively and meeting the needs of clinical staff.
Care provided after death:
- Dignified, respectful and safe transfer, care and storage of bodies to, from and within the mortuary.
- High standards of care of the body during and after post mortem.
- Provision of respectful care of bereaved relatives and sensitive accommodation of relatives to facilitate viewing of the body.
- Provision of sensitive support upon release of products of conception and infants to parents.
- Effective communication between mortuary staff and other health and social care staff, families and outside organisations that use their services.
- Liaison with wards and funeral directors in relation to completion of appropriate documentation and regarding transfer of the deceased.
- Hospital Doctors, Nurses and Midwives
- Histopathology Service
- Funeral Directors
- Coroner’s Office, PSNI
The Standard of Bereavement Care is enhanced when:
- The Body Transfer Form is accurately and fully completed
- The Medical Certificate of Cause of Death is completed by medical staff in a timely manner.
- Mortuary management provide training, supervision and support systems in place for staff
- Family funeral directors are aware of the legal processes required prior to the release of a body, for example, that an MCCD must be completed and that is not always possible at the time of death
Standards and Guidelines:
- HSC Trust/Employers policies and procedures in relation to death and bereavement care.
- ‘Code of practice 3: Post mortem examination’, Human Tissue Authority 2009.
- ‘Care and Respect in Death: Good Practice Guidance for NHS Mortuary Staff’, Department of Health, 2006.