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We do send out bereavement cards at the time of death and remembrance cards periodically after the death. What we have been advised is that once the patient dies, it is a matter of public record so we are not violating HIPPA.
Of course with anything, I would revisit what the intent is. If the cards are being sent with the intent of letting families know you as a team, a hospital, a staff member, etc. remember their child and want to express your sentiments of sympathy and comfort for a family, then it makes perfect sense. If cards are being sent for the purpose of soliciting donations for your program, hospital, etc., then maybe one could make the case that the cards are not really being sent for bereavement. Just a thought.
Deborah A. Lafond, DNP, PPCNP-BC, CPON, CHPPN
PANDA Palliative Care Team, Division of Hospitalist Medicine