Palliative Care

Death of a Child

Grief Mentor Program

Grief Mentors are here to help

Texas Children’s Hospital fully supports the parent-led initiative that provides our families with the unique understanding, encouragement, and support that only another parent who has walked a similar path can provide.

The staff of Texas Children’s Hospital wishes to extend our sympathy and condolences in the loss of your loved one. We recognize that the end of life and the time immediately after death is a difficult and often confusing time for you and your family. You may be wondering what to do next. Be assured that our staff is ready to help you while you are at Texas Children’s and after you leave. Please let us know how we may assist you.

Here we provide some information to guide you in the arrangements and decisions you may need to make for your loved one.

Grief is a natural reaction to the death of a loved one. This often overwhelming emotion can cause distress and sorrow, and it affects everyone differently. There is no simple way to go through the grieving process. We recognize the death of your loved one is a profound loss. We hope you are able to find the support, comfort, and information you need throughout your journey.

Our groups are beneficial for people who find sharing and processing with others helpful. They consist of a number of 6 to 12 participants and one to two group leaders. Since the group processes depends on the shared experiences of its members, it is highly recommended to attend all group sessions when possible.

Texas Children Hospital’s physicians and staff also grieve the loss of your loved one. There are several opportunities to gather with other families to remember our loved ones who are gone too soon.

If your loved one dies at home while he or she is on hospice care:

  • Call the hospice nurse if he or she is not already at your home.
  • The hospice staff will come to your home and pronounce your loved one deceased.
  • Some hospices will provide you some memory making activity such as hand prints, finger prints, or saving a lock of hair. You can ask your hospice about memory making activities
  • The family may spend as much time as they need with their loved one
  • In Texas if a child is less than 6 years old, the medical examiner, the Justice of the Peace, or Sheriff must be notified of the child’s death. If the child is over 6 years old, there is no need to call. 
  • If the medical examiner, Justice of the Peace, or Sheriff releases the body, then the hospice staff will help you provide any care for your loved one after death such as bathing your loved one or removing any tubes or lines if you want this done.
  • Together, a family member and hospice staff will dispose of left over medication
  • When your family is ready, the hospice personnel will call the funeral home to pick up your loved one.

Contact a funeral home or director to coordinate the transport of your loved one’s body to another state. Each state may have different rules and guidelines about transporting the decreased.

What information do you need to make funeral arrangements?

  • Full name of loved one
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Occupation (if applicable)
  • Social security number (if one has been issued)
  • Residence/Address
  • Spouse’s maiden name (if applicable)
  • Father’s name and mother’s maiden name
  • Place of burial
  • Select a funeral home

The type of arrangements available will differ based on weight and gestational age.

  • If your baby is under 350 grams or less than 20 weeks gestation, you have two options. You may choose to bury or cremate his or her remains through a funeral home. Or, you may choose for the hospital to handle the disposition of the remains at no charge.
  • If your baby is over 350 grams and/or greater than 20 week gestation, you will need to bury or cremate his or her remains through a funeral home as required by Texas State Law.
  • Social workers and chaplains are available to assist you with arrangements.

After the loss of a loved one, many tasks must be accomplished. We recommend getting help from family or friends to accomplish these tasks. Please reference the link above for guidance.

Your funeral home starts the process of obtaining a death certificate for your loved one. This process may take several weeks. Fees vary for this service; credit cards are usually accepted.

We hope the information on this website will be helpful for you and your family. However, we know this information may not answer every question you may have. Please contact us with your questions or concerns related to the death of your loved one.

Our thoughts are with you. Please call if you need our help.

After death, your loved one’s My Chart account cannot be accessed. However, you are able to receive your loved one’s medical records and information from the Health Information Management department.