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Croatia – End of Life Issues

Croatia is a country located in southeastern Europe, bordered by the Adriatic Sea to the west and neighboring countries such as Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Croatia, end-of-life care is an important issue that is taken seriously by healthcare professionals and the general population. In this article, we will discuss the hospice system, local customs and practices related to death, and the procedures to follow when someone dies in Croatia.

Hospices in Croatia

Hospice care in Croatia is provided by specialized hospice centers, which are separate units within larger hospitals or separate buildings. Hospices in Croatia are run by both public and private institutions and provide specialized care for terminally ill patients. Hospice care in Croatia is focused on providing palliative care, which means alleviating pain and other symptoms while improving the quality of life of the patient.

In Croatia, hospice care is also available in the patient’s home, which is known as home hospice care. The hospice team, which usually consists of a physician, nurse, and social worker, provides regular visits to the patient’s home and ensures that the patient receives proper care and treatment.

Customs and Practices

In Croatia, death is viewed as a natural part of life, and customs and practices related to death are deeply rooted in the country’s cultural and religious traditions. The majority of the Croatian population is Roman Catholic, and many of the customs and practices related to death reflect this.

One of the most common customs related to death is the funeral mass, which is held in a Catholic church. During the funeral mass, friends and family members gather to mourn the deceased and offer condolences to the family. It is also customary for mourners to wear black clothing.

Cremation is becoming more common in Croatia, although burial is still the most common method of disposing of the deceased. Cremation is generally accepted by the Catholic Church in Croatia, but it must be performed after the funeral mass.


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In Croatia, it is customary to have an open casket at the funeral, where mourners can pay their respects to the deceased. It is also customary for family members to sit vigil next to the casket the night before the funeral.

Procedures for Handling a Death

When someone dies in Croatia, there are certain procedures that must be followed. These procedures may vary slightly depending on the region, but the following is a general guide:

  1. Contact a doctor or emergency services: The first step is to contact a doctor or emergency services. If the person dies at home, the family can contact a doctor or call the emergency services by dialing 112.

  2. Obtain a death certificate: Once a doctor has confirmed the death, they will issue a death certificate, which is required to register the death.

  3. Register the death: The death must be registered with the local registry office within 24 hours of the death. This can be done by a family member or a funeral director.

  4. Arrange the funeral: The funeral can be arranged by the family or by a funeral director. The funeral must take place within six days of the death.

  5. Notify relevant authorities: The family must notify the deceased’s employer (if they were employed), the social security office, and any other relevant authorities.

  6. Settle the deceased’s affairs: The family must settle the deceased’s affairs, such as paying outstanding bills and canceling any subscriptions or memberships.

In conclusion, end-of-life care in Croatia is focused on providing palliative care to terminally ill patients. Customs and practices related to death are deeply rooted in the country’s cultural and religious traditions, and there are specific procedures that must be followed when someone dies in Croatia. In Croatia, there are many resources available to help individuals and families navigate end of life care, including hospice care, palliative care, and grief support services. By being prepared and informed, individuals and families can help ensure that their loved ones receive the best possible care during their final days.


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