Best practices of highly infectious decedent management: Consensus recommendations from an international expert workshop

Aurora B. Le, Christopher K. Brown, Shawn G. Gibbs, Alexander Uhrig, Andrew D. Green, Arne Broch Brantsæter, Jocelyn J. Herstein, Angela Vasa, Jill Shugart, Wanda Wilson Egbe, John J. Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Abstract

With the increasing number of highly infectious disease incidents, outbreaks, and pandemics in our society (e.g., Ebola virus disease, Lassa fever, coronavirus diseases), the need for consensus and best practices on highly infectious decedent management is critical. In January 2020, a workshop of subject matter experts from across the world convened to discuss highly infectious live patient transport and highly infectious decedent management best practices. This commentary focuses on the highly infectious decedent management component of the workshop. The absence of guidance or disparate guidance on highly infectious decedent management can increase occupational safety and health risks for death care sector workers. To address this issue, the authorship presents these consensus recommendations on best practices in highly infectious decedent management, including discussion of what is considered a highly infectious decedent; scalability and storage for casualty events; integration of key stakeholders; infection control and facility considerations; transport; care and autopsy; psychological, ethical, and cultural considerations as well as multi-national care perspectives. These consensus recommendations are not intended to be exhaustive but rather to underscore this overlooked area and serve as a starting point for much-needed conversations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental hygiene
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Death care
  • decedents
  • fatality management
  • highly infectious
  • human remains
  • transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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