Chapter 2: When death occurs

Helping the family leave the room and the ICU


“After my mother died in the ICU, I did not want to leave”. – Family Member

It is often distressing for families to leave the room after the death. Explore with the family what their concerns are in leaving the room. Ideally, families will find a way to leave on their own terms. Some families will benefit from having the staff or close friend accompany them off the unit.

 If you have concerns about how a specific family member will manage, you might:

1. Ask how they will get home.

2. Ask if anyone will be staying with them tonight.

3. Ask who they can call if they need help.

4. Encourage them to make an appointment with their family doctor. (You can remind them that they've been through a lot and will benefit from this follow-up.)

5. Accompany them to emergency if there is any risk of imminent harm.