Andrew - hospitality for relatives

When a patient is dying in a hospital ward the family carers may take up a vigil, and may be reluctant to leave the ward in case the patient dies while they are gone.

Some relatives remain on the ward for extended periods of time. Others may lack the ability and resources to organise extended periods of attendance.

However, many families make great efforts to be with the patient at the point of death, and are often alerted to the imminence of this by ward staff.

Susan felt that she received no support or consideration from staff during her vigil on the ward. Other relatives also described similar experiences of what we have termed ‘abandonment’ by staff.

However, some nurses we spoke to considered that their role is to care for families as well as patients, although this can cause difficulties, particularly regarding the time needed to look after relatives alongside their normal duties.

Watch the video below to conclude Andrew and Susan's story:

Video transcript

What kind of hospitality should nursing staff offer to provide for relatives visiting dying patients? What is the impact on staff and other patients when there may be a number of relatives visiting dying patients on the bays for extended periods of time?


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