The Australian institution from which the procedure manual excerpt was taken will remain anonymous, as the document is not copyright protected.
Nursing care of dead bodies: a discursive analysis of last offices
Article first published online: 6 MAR 2003
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 41, Issue 6, pages 553–560, March 2003
How to Cite
Quested, B. and Rudge, T. (2003), Nursing care of dead bodies: a discursive analysis of last offices. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 41: 553–560. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02567.x
- Issue published online: 6 MAR 2003
- Article first published online: 6 MAR 2003
- Submitted for publication 8 August 2002 Accepted for publication 29 November 2002
- discourse analysis;
- last offices;
- nursing care procedures;
Background. Nurses care for patients before they are born, after they have died and during the lifetime in between. This paper explores nursing care of the patient after they have died including the actions by nurses in preparation of the body, the covering with a shroud, and the transfer to the mortuary.
Aims. The analysis of a procedure manual excerpt Last Offices, which directs care of the dead patient aims to explore nursing care practices in regard to dead patients, as well as the impact of the health care institution and society at large on these care practices.
Method. An acute care teaching hospital located in a major Australian city was approached and permission was granted to access their procedure and policy manuals. The Last Offices excerpt of the procedure manual was discursively analysed.
Findings. It is the contention of this paper that, through their care, nurses enact the transition between life and death, and from person to corpse. Furthermore, nurses mediate the move from embodied person to becoming dead, and in so doing traverse the cultural, ontological and epistemological breaks that death entails.