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Verifying Death - Draft Guideline for Consultation

The Ministry of Health is consulting on a proposal that the Chief Coroner make a rule change to allow nurses and nurse practitioners, midwives in some cases, and ambulance staff from the role of emergency technician and above, to verify death. The reasons for the change are to make the most of the breadth of the scopes of practice of the health workforce and to reduce unnecessary delays and stress to families. A small working group was established and has developed two documents to support implementation, when the rule change is confirmed.

  1. A Practitioner Guideline - the aim of the guideline is to provide information to primarily practitioners, but also employers and managers. The document sets out the relevant legislation and describes roles and responsibilities as well as the clinical assessment required to verify death.
  2. A documentation form - for use by practitioners to record the assessment and the time and place they assessed the deceased.

The areas of nursing that this is likely to useful include aged care, palliative care, PRIME (rural) nurses and ED.

The Ministry wants feedback on whether:

  • the document is readily understood
  • the document includes all the information needed - if not what else would be helpful
  • the document will help in professional development, organisational policy development and to guide practice
  • any additions or deletions needed

Feedback Due: Please send comments to by 26 May 2015

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