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Dominican Republic – End of Life Issues

The end of life care in the Dominican Republic involves the provision of palliative care and hospice services to patients with advanced illnesses. This article provides a brief overview of hospices in the Dominican Republic, local customs and practices when someone dies, and the necessary steps to take when someone dies.

Overview of Hospices in the Dominican Republic

Hospices in the Dominican Republic provide specialized care to patients with serious illnesses who require palliative care. Hospices offer medical, emotional, and spiritual support to patients and their families to help them manage symptoms, cope with emotional distress, and maintain their quality of life.

The hospice care teams in the Dominican Republic consist of physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers who work together to provide comprehensive care to patients. Hospice care is provided in various settings, including the patient’s home, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.

Hospice care in the Dominican Republic is usually covered by public and private insurance plans, and some hospices offer free services to patients who are unable to pay.

Local Customs and Practices When Someone Dies in the Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a country with rich cultural traditions and customs, and these practices are also evident when it comes to end-of-life care. The following are some of the local customs and practices when someone dies in the Dominican Republic:

  • The family and friends of the deceased usually gather together for a wake or velorio, which lasts for one to three days. During the wake, people pay their respects to the deceased and offer condolences to the family.

  • The funeral is usually held on the third day after the death, and it is a religious ceremony that involves a procession to the burial site. Family and friends usually wear black or white clothing to the funeral.

  • The burial is a solemn affair, and the deceased is usually buried in a cemetery. The cemetery is usually decorated with flowers and other decorations, and it is customary for family and friends to bring food and drinks to share after the burial.

  • It is also customary for people to wear black clothing for a period of mourning, which usually lasts for 40 days.

  • In some rural areas, it is also customary for people to hold a novenario, which is a nine-day period of prayer and mourning for the deceased.

What to do When Someone Dies in the Dominican Republic

When someone dies in the Dominican Republic, it is important to take the following steps:


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  1. Call the police: If the person dies at home, you should call the police immediately. The police will come to the location and will take care of the necessary arrangements, such as contacting the medical examiner and the funeral home.

  2. Notify the family and friends: Once the police have been notified, you should contact the family and friends of the deceased to inform them of the death. This will allow them to make the necessary arrangements to attend the wake and funeral.

  3. Contact the funeral home: You should contact a funeral home to arrange for the body to be taken to the funeral home and for the funeral services to be arranged. The funeral home will take care of the necessary arrangements, such as preparing the body for burial and organizing the funeral services.

  4. Obtain the death certificate: You will need to obtain a death certificate from the medical examiner, which is usually issued within 24 to 48 hours after the death. The death certificate is required for legal and administrative purposes, such as settling the deceased’s estate.

  5. Notify government agencies: You will also need to notify government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Department of Health, of the death. This will allow them to update their records and prevent any fraudulent activities using the deceased’s identity.


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