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CHAPTER 3

BEREAVEMENT CARE FOLLOWING THE DEATH

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear

C S Lewis 1898 - 1963

We remember so clearly those last things… it makes a huge impact, those last impressions, they feature in your dreams…” Bereavement Suite user1

1.

This chapter addresses the steps that healthcare staff should take

to support people who have been bereaved following a death. The aim of such support is to facilitate an acceptance of the fact of the death and, through that, to lay a foundation which will enable good outcomes for

those who are bereaved.

2.

A wide variety of healthcare staff may be in contact with people

who have been bereaved [See Frontispiece Page support to those who have been bereaved, within

3].

their

Staff should offer

competence,

and

be prepared to refer to others where necessary.

3.

Bereavement is best viewed as a process that occurs over time.

The journey of grief may begin at the time of death or at the point that

the the

possibility or the imminence of death becomes apparent.

For some

sense

of

disbelief

at

the

fact

of

death

may

result

in

grief

being

delayed

and

grieving

may

only

begin

some

days,

or

in

exceptional

circumstances

months or even years following the death.

4.

Each person is different, and will experience grief in an individual

way. There are, however, recognised components and stages in grief of

1 Quoted in Waller S, Dewar S, Masterson A, Finn H, Improving Environments for Care at End of Life, Kings Fund, 2008.

Shaping Bereavement Care 27

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