DEVELOPING THE APPROACH TO POSTMORTEM PRACTICE
Keywords:death, bereavement, postmortem, autopsy, necropsy, counselling, pathology
There is potential to improve the management of death and bereavement in acute hospitals and an opportunity to do so. The author suggests ways in which improvements might be brought forward, with particular reference to education of health care professionals and the public about the role and value of the postmortem. Reform of the consent process for autopsy to include the opportunity of involvement of pathologists at an early stage is proposed. The provision of the chance for relatives to receive feedback of postmortem data again with pathologist input is also suggested in tandem with the offer of bereavement counselling for grieving families. The potential value of the postmortem in managing bereavement should be studied. It is acknowledged that such intervention could be costly in resource terms, but if value can be discerned, it may well be worthwhile.
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