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which healthcare staff should be aware and on which planning of care should be based1.

5.

As bereaved people experience their grief following a death, they

frequently report in some detail their memory and perception of the words and actions of the staff who were present at that time. Staff will be able to facilitate the initial acceptance of the death through their attitude both

to the deceased and to those who have been bereaved.

6.

Bereavement can raise a wide range of practical, social, emotional

and spiritual needs. Some people will have clinical questions about the circumstances leading up to the death. Some people will need information about practical matters, and the process of grief. Some will demonstrate emotional or spiritual distress and will require empathic care from staff. A number of healthcare providers have introduced follow up processes in which the opportunity for such discussions with clinicians is pro-actively offered and this is reported to lead to a marked drop in the number of

complaints received around end of life issues.

7.

In the longer term, a variety of needs may become apparent: some

will benefit from peer-support, especially those who are particularly isolated or lacking in social support; some may require the opportunity to explore the emotional or practical implications of their loss: and a smaller

number will need more specialist therapeutic intervention.

Guidance: 8. Every

health board should adopt basic principles for the ongoing

care of people who have been bereaved. These should recognise the need

for dignity, recognition

sensitivity and discretion of the vulnerability of

in the handling of bereaved people.

the death Respect

and

the

for

the

spiritual,

religious

or

cultural

needs

of

the

deceased

and

of

those

who

have been

bereaved

is essential.

Such

basic

principles

should

be

incorporated in a Bereavement Care Policy.

1 In particular see: Kubler-Ross (1969), Five stages of grief; Worden (2003), Four tasks of mourning; Stroebe and Schut (1999), The dual process model.

Shaping Bereavement Care 28

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