The after-death call to family members: a clinical perspective

Aging Ment Health. 2007 Mar;11(2):192-6. doi: 10.1080/13607860600844291.


In this paper, we discuss the value of an after-death telephone call made by the treating mental health clinician to family members, after the death of a geriatric patient with a psychiatric disorder. We outline the process of the after-death call including the optimal method, nature, and content. We note the psychotherapeutic value of an after-death telephone call in addressing complex emotions, and helping the family to cope with bereavement. We also discuss institutional, legal, and ethical ramifications. We conclude that an after-death call may be of sufficient benefit to be considered as a "best practice" approach in the care of every patient.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Death*
  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Telephone*