Saying Goodbye with Dignity
By Michael E. McRae
President & CEO, St. Ann’s Community
“Full of life.” That’s how we at St. Ann’s describe our community.
It’s about helping our residents live their lives to the fullest. It means giving them opportunities to enjoy their favorite things, providing the care they need, and ensuring they live their lives with dignity.
Dignity is also important when we say goodbye to our residents when they die. That’s why, after extensive discussions with residents, families, and staff, we have changed the way in which our nursing home residents leave the building for the final time. Instead of exiting through the back of the building on the lower level, we are now escorting them through our lobby and out the front door—the way they came in. The escorting group may stop at the chapel entrance for a final prayer and blessing prior to leaving the building.
Our intention is to honor and respect the deceased and their loved ones and to allow everyone present to be supportive of those escorting the resident’s body from the building.
We realize it may be difficult to be there when this happens. However, we encourage you to view your presence as a final sign of respect for the deceased. As the escorting group passes, we invite you to stand quietly in reverence. You may also choose to step into the gift shop while they pass if you are more comfortable doing so.
In this way, we as a community continue to honor the dignity of our residents until their final day with us. As proclaimed in the Book of Psalms, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”