How to verify the death of a patient

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    When a patient dies, it is important that nurses understand their role in the verification of death. This article explains the steps required to verify the death of an adult patient. Verification of death is not a mechanistic task, but one that requires sensitivity and compassion. It is also crucial that nurses understand the legal implications of verifying a patient’s death. With the development of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, nurses must also understand any changes in their role when verifying the death of a patient.

    Verification or confirmation of death is the process of ascertaining whether a patient is deceased, based on a physical assessment.

    Nurses can only verify a death if the patient is expected to die and has a do not attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) order in place. A DNACPR order is essential because it allows the nurse to verify the death without being concerned with the need to resuscitate the patient.

    Nurses should ensure they act in accordance with local and national guidance regarding the verification of a patient’s death
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere11561
    JournalNursing Standard
    Issue number00
    Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2020


    • attitudes to death
    • bereavement
    • bereavement support
    • clinical
    • death
    • do not resuscitate
    • end of life care
    • grief
    • verifying death


    Dive into the research topics of 'How to verify the death of a patient'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this