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CHAPTER 2 Bereavement care around the time of death

How people die remains in the memory of those who live on. Dame Cicely Saunders 1918 - 2005

  • to reduce morbidity among the bereaved and to promote

continuing health, good care of the dying is categorically demanded

their

Everybody’s death should matter to somebody (Scottish Health Service Advisory Council 1991)

1. This chapter addresses the importance of commencing bereavement care prior to the death, where the death is expected, or at the earliest possible point in the event of sudden or unexpected death. This is in accordance with the new shape of bereavement care illustrated in Living and Dying Well (see Figure 1.2) This approach may therefore involve interaction with the dying patient as well as with those who will be bereaved by the death.

2.

Lasting memories of what happened around the time of death can

stay with those who have been bereaved for many years and can support or hinder them in their adjustment to the death. This is true of the way things are said as well as of what was said; the way things are done as

well as what is done.

3.

Particular types of death, such as death by suicide, the death of a

child or young person, still-birth or the loss of a non-viable foetus carry additional emotional complications and the importance of the quality of care of the deceased and of the attitude of staff to, is heightened in these

circumstances.

4.

On occasions deaths must be referred to the Procurator Fiscal

(Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service 2008). This chapter should be read with the understanding that in such circumstances restrictions may apply to areas such as choice over post-mortem examination or contact

with the deceased.

Sensitive communication with people who have been

Shaping Bereavement Care 18

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