The Pause – Honouring Patients and Caregivers after Death

When a patient dies, we know it is a difficult time for their family and loved ones. But it is also challenging for the healthcare team – those at the bedside who cared for the patient.

To help caregivers in these moments, a Cleveland Ohio clinic has introduced The Pause, a protocol shared by all those at the patient’s bedside, but primarily intended to help caregivers.

Participation in The Pause is voluntary, not a policy. It is usually performed at the bedside, but it can be done in another location, very soon after the time of death is called.

The Pause is not a debriefing of medical events or CPR, nor is it a prayer or religious practice. It is simply a time to respect everyone present and reset. It’s a way to honour the human life that was lost, and the team who cared for that person – and it helps to provide closure for the caregivers, preparing them to take care of future patients.

The Pause is being rolled out right across the Cleveland Clinic with a very positive response from caregivers. The following script is used for the practice and may be helpful for caregivers everywhere.


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