death, evidence-based practice, family-centered care, moving and lifting patients, nursing, palliative care, pediatric, professional education



  1. Tatterton, Michael J. PhD, MSc, RNC, RHV
  2. Honour, Alison DipCOT
  3. Kirkby, Lorna BSc, RNC
  4. Billington, David


Hospices for children and adolescents in the United Kingdom provide care to the bodies of deceased children in specially designed chilled bedrooms called "cool rooms." In an effort to develop resources to support hospice practitioners to provide this specialist area of care, this study aimed to identify the factors that influence decision making when moving and handling children's bodies after death in a hospice cool bedroom. An internet-based survey was sent to all practitioners employed by 1 children's hospice. A total of 94.9% of eligible staff responded (n = 56). An inductive approach to thematic analysis was undertaken, using a 6-phase methodological framework. Three core themes were identified that inform practitioners' perception of the appropriateness of moving and handling decisions: care of the body, stages of care, and method of handling. The complexity of decision making and variation in practice was identified. Practitioners relied on both analytical and initiative decision making, with more experienced practitioners using an intuitive approach. Evidence-based policy and training influence the perception of appropriateness and the decisions and behavior of practitioners. The development of a policy and education framework would support practitioners in caring for children's bodies after death, standardizing expectations and measures of competence in relation to moving and handling tasks.