Post Mortem Care in Nursing: An Overview

Post Mortem Care in Nursing: An Overview

As a nursing assistant, you may find yourself present when one of your patients passes away. In such situations, immediate action is required. After determining the cause of death, post mortem care in nursing becomes essential. This blog aims to provide an in-depth understanding of post mortem care procedures, the nurse’s role, and the purposes it serves.

I. Post-Mortem Care Nursing Procedures

1. Exterior Inspection:
– Note weight, height, scars, and tattoos.
2. Y-shaped Incision:
– Extend incision from shoulders to sternum and pubic bone.
3. Internal Examination:
– Separate subcutaneous tissues from the skin.
– Remove the front of the rib enclosure to access neck and chest organs.
– Cut from ear to ear at the back of the head to reach the brain.
– Use a vibrating saw to remove the top of the head and gently extract the brain.
– Access the spinal cord by removing the anterior or posterior spinal column.
4. Examination of Organs:
– Pathologist examines organs for evident modifications.
– Organs are separated, examined, and checked for internal abnormalities.

II. Steps of Performing Post-Mortem Care Nursing

1. Ensuring Discretion
2. Gathering Supplies
3. Wearing Gloves and Handwashing
4. Closing Eyes and Placing Dentures
5. Bed Bath and Dressing in Clean Gown
6. Removing Tubes or Lines According to Policy
7. Wrapping Body in a Sheet
8. Placing Body in Plastic Bag with Identification
9. Zipping and Transferring Body to Mortuary Cart

III. Nurse’s Role in Post Mortem Care Nursing

– Handle the deceased with sensitivity and care.
– Address the emotional needs of the victim’s family and friends.
– Manage paperwork and documentation related to the investigation.
– Collect and preserve biological evidence for forensic purposes.

IV. Purposes of Post-Mortem Care

1. Diagnostic Purposes:
– Helps determine the disease processes leading to the patient’s death.
2. Educational Purposes:
– Provides valuable learning opportunities for medical professionals and students.
3. Research Purposes:
– Facilitates collaboration for tissue recovery and preservation for future research.

V. Post-Mortem Care Nursing Interventions

– Nurses should manage their emotions about death and seek support.
– Cultivate empathy while ensuring a respectful approach to post-mortem care.

VI. The Four Post-Mortem Stages

1. Pallor Mortis:
– Paleness in the face and other body parts due to the cessation of blood flow.
2. Algor Mortis:
– Cooling of the body as it adjusts to ambient temperature after the heart stops pumping.
3. Rigor Mortis:
– Stiffening of muscles within a few hours after death.
4. Livor Mortis:
– Blood pooling in specific areas of the body due to gravity.

VII. Muslim Post-Mortem Care Nursing

– Muslims have unique traditions and beliefs surrounding death and post-mortem examinations.
– Non-Muslims should avoid touching the body while family members prepare it.
– Autopsies and organ donation are typically not permitted unless required by law.


This comprehensive blog sheds light on various aspects of post-mortem care in nursing, including procedures, the nurse’s role, and the importance it serves for diagnosis, education, and research purposes. It also addresses specific considerations for Muslim post-mortem care. For further assistance with nursing assignments, students can reach out to