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Cyprus – End of Life Issues

Cyprus, a small island country in the Mediterranean Sea, has a rich cultural heritage, which also extends to end-of-life care. This article provides an overview of hospices in Cyprus, local customs and practices when someone dies, and what to do when someone dies.

Overview of Hospices in Cyprus

Hospice care in Cyprus is provided by both private and government-funded organizations. Some of the notable hospices in Cyprus include:

  • Cyprus Anti-Cancer Society Hospice – this hospice, located in Nicosia, offers palliative care to cancer patients.
  • PASYKAF Hospice – this hospice, located in Limassol, provides palliative care services to patients with various diseases.
  • St. Michael Hospice – this hospice, located in Paphos, provides residential and home care services to patients with terminal illnesses.

These hospices offer various services to patients, including pain and symptom management, emotional and spiritual support, and end-of-life care. They also provide support services to family members and caregivers.

Local Customs and Practices When Someone Dies in Cyprus

Cyprus has a rich cultural heritage, and many of its end-of-life customs and practices are influenced by religious beliefs. Some of the customs and practices when someone dies in Cyprus include:

  • Mourning period: Traditionally, Cypriot families observe a 40-day mourning period after a death. During this period, family members wear black clothes, and friends and relatives visit to offer condolences and support.
  • Funeral arrangements: Funerals in Cyprus usually take place within a day or two of the death. The body is usually washed and prepared by family members, and a wake is held in the home or church. Cypriot funerals are typically attended by a large number of people, and it is common for mourners to bring flowers or wreaths.
  • Burial customs: In Cyprus, the majority of people are buried rather than cremated. Traditionally, the deceased is buried in a white shroud rather than a coffin. Family members often gather at the gravesite to say their final goodbyes and offer prayers.
  • Religious practices: Religion plays a significant role in end-of-life customs and practices in Cyprus. Most Cypriots are Orthodox Christians, and funerals are typically conducted according to Orthodox Christian practices. Family members may light candles and offer prayers for the deceased at the funeral and at home.

What to do When Someone Dies in Cyprus

If someone dies in Cyprus, there are several steps that family members or caregivers should take. These include:

  1. Contact the authorities: If someone dies at home, the family should contact the local police or ambulance service. If the person dies in a hospital or hospice, the staff will usually take care of contacting the authorities.
  2. Obtain a death certificate: A death certificate is required to register the death and make funeral arrangements. The family should obtain a death certificate from a doctor or the hospital where the person died.
  3. Notify family members and friends: The family should notify family members, friends, and other contacts of the person’s death.
  4. Make funeral arrangements: The family should make funeral arrangements, including deciding on a burial or cremation, choosing a funeral home, and organizing the funeral service.
  5. Register the death: The death must be registered with the local authorities within 15 days. The family can register the death at the local town hall or embassy.
  6. Notify relevant organizations: The family should notify relevant organizations, such as the deceased’s employer, banks, insurance companies, and other service providers.

Overall, Cyprus has a well-developed healthcare system and offers a range of end-of-life care options, including hospice and palliative care. Local customs and practices emphasize the importance of family and community support during the dying process and after death, and there are clear guidelines and procedures for reporting and handling deaths. By following the appropriate steps and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals, authorities, and funeral directors, families can navigate the end-of-life process in Cyprus with care and respect for their loved ones.

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