Beth Calmes, MSN, RN, on Honor Bathing and its Impact on Family Members

BETH CALMES, MSN, RN | April 27, 2015
Beth Calmes, MSN, RN, oncology unit, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, explains what honor bathing is and how it impacts the family members of the recently deceased patient.

Calmes says when a patient dies on the oncology unit of the hospital, nurses first ask the family members if there are any religious customs that are important to the family. If there is, the hospital tries to honor those wishes. If not, Calmes says they invite the family members to participate in a bathing and honoring practice. During this ritual, family members bathe the patient while saying some honoring words, Calmes says.

Results of a study on honor bathing showed that 100% of those that participated felt that honor bathing was a positive experience, Calmes says. Family members also described the practice as meaningful and that it helped them through their grieving process and that it truly honored their loved one.

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