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Last offices
  1. Anne Nash
  1. St Christopher’s Hospice, London

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Introduction

The performance of last offices is ‘the care given to a deceased patient which demonstrates our respect for the dead and is focused on fulfilling religious and cultural beliefs as well as health and safety and legal requirements’ (Dougherty and Lister, 2004).

Administering last offices has been described as a way in which nurses fulfil a symbolic experience that is a final demonstration of respectful, sensitive care (Nearney, 1998a,b.c). The care of dead bodies by nurses has a documented historical basis of over 100 years (Wolf, 1998). Quested and Rudge (2003) suggest that last offices are words that reflect both institutional …

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