One of the most difficult times for residents and staff in an ALF is when a resident passes away. Many times, there has been an emotional bond built toward the resident who has expired so there is certain to be a wave of grief passing over the community. All we can do as administrators and nursing leaders is honor the person by providing them with dignity and respect as they are taken away from the community. It may also be prudent to provide your staff and residents with a resource for how to cope with the loss of a friend. The state of West Virginia OHFLAC also issues the following regulation for how the death of a resident is to be handled in an ALF:
6.7. Resident Death.
6.7.1. Staff shall immediately report the suspected death of a resident to the resident’s physician, to the resident’s next of kin or legal representative, and hospice staff, if applicable. Any death suspected to be the result of abuse or neglect shall be immediately reported to the coroner. (Class III)
6.7.2. Upon the death of a resident, the following information shall be entered in the resident’s record:
6.7.2.a. A record of the date and time of the notification of the resident’s physician or hospice staff, the resident’s representative or next of kin; and
6.7.2.b. The date, time, and circumstance of death, including the name of the person to whom the body was released and any other details specific to the death. (Class III)
6.7.3. Upon a resident’s death, the licensee shall release all of the resident’s belongings and funds to the estate administrator or executor. Documentation of release to the estate administrator or executor shall be maintained by the assisted living residence. (Class III)