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Navigating the aftermath of an unexpected nursing home death

You've likely heard the saying that death is merely a part of life. Although most adults in Ohio fully grasp this concept, it doesn't necessarily make coping with a loved one's death any easier, especially if it occurs suddenly and is unexpected. Since your parent took up residence in a nursing home, you've probably witnessed family members of other residents mourn their losses after learning their loved ones have passed away.

Even though an adult child may do his or her best to provide for an aging or invalid parent, coming to terms with a parent's death often evokes a wide range of emotions. It can be very overwhelming, and no two situations are exactly the same; therefore, each person's mourning process is also unique.

Keeping these things in mind may help

It's often the case that an adult child is told to expect a parent's passing due to various signs or symptoms of imminent decline. Many families do their best in such circumstances to spend as much time with their ailing loved ones as possible. The following information may be useful to those facing the recent death of a loved one in a nursing home:

  • Obtaining an official pronouncement: If you happen to be in the room when your parent passes away, it may be obvious to you that he or she has died, but it's still necessary to obtain an official pronouncement of death by someone in authority.
  • No need to rush: It's perfectly acceptable to remain with the body of a loved one for a while after death occurs in a nursing facility. Some families find it comforting to gather together in silence, while others take turns sharing memories aloud. Although there's typically set protocol regarding the removal of a body from a nursing home, most facilities accommodate family members who wish to remain with a loved one's body for a time.
  • Cultural and religious customs: The best way to ensure that you're able to carry out any cultural or religious custom in the near aftermath of a loved one's death is to discuss such measures ahead of time with nursing home staff. Many people prefer to have a religious leader or spiritual counselor visit the room before a body is removed to pray or offer a few words of encouragement to those present.

The particular nursing home where your mother or father resided before death may have a set plan that includes notifying a funeral home to send an official to remove the body from the facility. The days and weeks beyond that moment may be very challenging for you as an adult child, especially if your parent's death was not expected, and is shrouded in mystery.

Most nursing homes have residents' best interests at heart. Some workers, however, are abusive and do more harm than good. If you suspect foul play in the death of your loved one, your first action might be contacting local law enforcement to discuss the situation. In such circumstances, it may also be a good idea to retain immediate assistance from an Ohio personal injury attorney who can help investigate the events leading to your parent's death, as well as file a wrongful death claim, if warranted.

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