The importance of not dying alone

It was clearly very important to many relatives that the patient did not die alone. If they were not able to be present, they hoped that ward staff would be able to sit with the patient and keep them company. However, this was unlikely to happen, as staff accounts made clear.

This was the only negative issue that Angela reported about her experience of Doreen’s care.

Select each character to hear accounts from staff and relatives:



Staff Nurse, Oak Ward


Staff Nurse, Oak Ward

Audio transcript

Do you think it is appropriate for ward staff to tell relatives that the patient did not die alone, even if this was not the case? Should ward staff make an effort to stay with a dying patient, or is this not an appropriate or necessary part of their role? How should staff deal with situations when the prolonged presence of a dying patient’s relatives may be disruptive and disturbing to other patients and visitors on the ward?


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