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Cuba – End of Life Issues

Cuba is an island nation located in the Caribbean Sea. The country has a long history of providing free and universal healthcare services to its citizens. The end-of-life care in Cuba is no exception. In this article, we will explore the hospice care system, local customs and practices when someone dies, and what to do when someone dies in Cuba.

Hospice care in Cuba

Hospice care in Cuba is provided by the National Health System, which offers a wide range of services and programs aimed at improving the quality of life of patients with life-limiting illnesses. The hospice care system in Cuba is free of charge and available to all citizens.

There are several hospice facilities in Cuba, which provide medical and emotional support to patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Hospice care in Cuba is provided in a home-like environment, and patients receive round-the-clock care from a team of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains.

The focus of hospice care in Cuba is on providing relief from pain and other distressing symptoms, as well as emotional and spiritual support to patients and their families. The goal is to improve the quality of life of patients and help them live their remaining days with dignity.

Local customs and practices when someone dies in Cuba

Cuba has a unique culture and set of traditions when it comes to death and dying. Cuban families place a strong emphasis on the importance of family and community support during end-of-life care.

In Cuba, it is customary to hold a wake at home or at a funeral home before the funeral. During the wake, family members and friends gather to pay their respects to the deceased and offer condolences to the family. It is common for mourners to bring flowers or other offerings to the wake.


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Cubans also have a tradition of carrying out a procession to accompany the deceased to the cemetery. This is known as the “velorio” and involves family members and friends following the hearse on foot, while others drive behind in a procession of cars.

What to do When Someone Dies in Cuba

If someone dies in Cuba, there are several steps that must be taken:

  1. Notify a doctor or medical professional: A doctor or medical professional must be notified immediately if the death occurs in a hospital or healthcare facility. The doctor will provide a medical certificate of death, which is necessary for the burial or cremation process.

  2. Contact a funeral home: The next step is to contact a funeral home to make arrangements for the burial or cremation. The funeral home will help with the necessary paperwork, including obtaining a death certificate and arranging for transportation of the body.

  3. Register the death: The death must be registered with the civil registry office within 24 hours of the death. The funeral home can help with this process.

  4. Notify family and friends: The family and friends of the deceased should be notified as soon as possible. They can help with making funeral arrangements and provide emotional support during this difficult time.

  5. Hold a wake: As mentioned earlier, it is customary to hold a wake before the funeral. The wake can be held at home or at a funeral home.

  6. Arrange for the funeral: The funeral can be held at a church or at the funeral home. The funeral home will help with the arrangements, including transportation of the body and providing a coffin.

  7. Burial or cremation: The body can be buried in a cemetery or cremated, depending on the wishes of the family and the deceased.

End-of-life care in Cuba is provided by the National Health System, and hospice care is available to all citizens free of charge. Cuban families place a strong emphasis on the importance of family and community support during the passing away of an individual.


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