Religion and End-of-Life Care


  • Funerals are conducted in the home without a eulogy, flower decorations, or any other display; caskets are plain and simple, without adornment.
  • At death, a woman is usually buried in her bridal dress.
  • One is believed to live on after death, either with eternal reward in heaven or punished in hell.


  • A shrine to Buddha may be placed in the client’s room.
  • Time for meditation at the shrine is important and should be respected.
  • Client’s may refuse medications that may alter their awareness (such as opioids).
  • After death, a monk may recite a prayer for 1 hour (need not be done in the presence of the body).

CHRISTIANITY (Catholics and Orthodox religions)

  • A priest anoints the sick.
  • Other sacraments before death include reconciliation and holy communion.


  • May administer a sacrament if the client requires.


  • Do not believe in sacraments.
  • Will be excommunicated if they receive a blood transfusion.


  • Prolongation of life is important (a client on life support must remain so until death)
  • A dying person should not be left alone (a rabbi’s presence is desired).
  • Autopsy and cremation are forbidden.


  • Rituals include tying a thread around the neck or wrist of dying person, sprinkling the person with special water, and placing a leaf of basil on their tongue.
  • After death, the sacred thread is not removed and the body is not washed.


  • Second degree male relatives such as cousins or uncles should be the contact person and determine whether the client or family should be given information about the client.
  • Client may choose to face Mecca (west or southwest in United States).
  • The head should be elevated above the body.
  • Discussions about death usually are not welcomed.
  • Stopping medical treatment is against the will of Allah (Arabic word for God).
  • Grief maybe expressed through slapping or hitting the body.
  • If possible, only a same-gender Muslim should handle the body after death; if not possible, non-muslim should wear gloves so as not to touch the body.


  • No last rites (anointing of the sick is accepted by some groups).
  • Prayers are given to offer comfort and support.



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