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Czech Republic – End of Life Issues

The Czech Republic is a country located in Central Europe with a population of approximately 10.7 million people. As with many other countries, end-of-life care in the Czech Republic is a topic of great importance. In this article, we will explore the hospice care available in the country, local customs and practices surrounding death, and what to do when someone dies.

Overview of Hospices in the Czech Republic

Hospices in the Czech Republic are designed to provide palliative care to those who are facing a life-limiting illness. The goal of hospice care is to improve the quality of life for patients and their families by addressing the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient. Hospice care is provided by a team of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, social workers, and chaplains.

There are several hospice organizations in the Czech Republic, including the Czech Hospice and Palliative Care Association, which was founded in 1991. This organization provides support to hospice providers throughout the country, and works to raise awareness about the importance of palliative care. In addition to hospice care, there are also home-based palliative care services available for those who wish to remain in their own homes.

Local Customs and Practices

In the Czech Republic, death is often viewed as a natural part of the life cycle. Many people believe that death is the beginning of a new journey, and may view it as a positive event rather than a negative one. As a result, there are several local customs and practices surrounding death that are unique to the Czech Republic.

One of these customs is the practice of placing lit candles on the graves of loved ones. This is done to remember the deceased and to honor their memory. Another custom is the use of wreaths made of flowers or evergreen branches, which are placed on graves during holidays or special occasions.

In addition, it is common for families to hold a wake or viewing for the deceased. This is typically held in the home of the deceased or at a funeral home, and provides an opportunity for family and friends to pay their respects and say goodbye.


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What to Do When Someone Dies

When someone dies in the Czech Republic, there are several steps that must be taken. Here is a numbered list of what to do:

  1. Contact a doctor – If the death occurs in a hospital or nursing home, the staff will typically handle this step. However, if the death occurs at home, a doctor must be contacted to certify the death.

  2. Contact a funeral home – Once the death has been certified, a funeral home should be contacted to begin making arrangements. The funeral home will assist with transporting the body, preparing it for burial or cremation, and coordinating any services.

  3. Register the death – The death must be registered with the local authorities within 3 days of the death. This can be done at the town hall or the local registry office.

  4. Notify family and friends – It is important to notify family and friends of the death, and to provide information about any services that may be held.

  5. Arrange for the funeral or memorial service – The funeral or memorial service can be held at a church, funeral home, or other location. The service may include readings, prayers, and music.

  6. Decide on burial or cremation – The family must decide whether the deceased will be buried or cremated. If cremation is chosen, the ashes can be kept in an urn, scattered, or interred in a cemetery.

  7. Handle the deceased’s affairs – The family must handle the deceased’s affairs, including notifying banks, insurance companies, and other organizations.

In conclusion, end-of-life care is an important aspect of healthcare that requires sensitivity and empathy. The customs and practices surrounding death vary greatly between cultures and regions, and it is crucial to be aware of them to provide appropriate care and support. In the Czech Republic, hospices offer specialized care for patients with life-limiting illnesses, and the local customs and practices include religious and cultural traditions. When someone dies, the family must follow specific procedures, such as notifying the authorities, arranging funeral services, and obtaining a death certificate. By understanding the local customs and practices and providing compassionate care, healthcare professionals can make a significant difference in the lives of patients and their families.


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