Grief, Loss and Bereavement: Evidence and Practice for Health and Social Care Practitioners

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Factors that affect the work of grief include, but are not limited to the following:. Bereavement is the state of individuals who have experienced loss. Mourning encompasses all the processes of coping or learning to live with the loss and grief. Disenfranchised grief is the grief people experience when they incur a loss that is not or cannot be openly acknowledged. Instrumental grief is a process of grieving that is private, thought and action-oriented.

Guide to child bereavement | Community Care

Intuitive grief involves the process of grieving with a full, rich range of emotions in response to loss. Anticipatory grief involves being aware that death is coming and knowing experiencing grief in advance of the event.

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Anticipatory grief allows a preparation for what is to come. Truth : Grief is our reaction to the death experience.

Bereavement and Grief

Reactions may be physical, emotional, behavioral, social, and spiritual. Bereavement is the situation of individuals who have experienced loss. Mourning is all the processes of coping or learning to live with the loss and grief. Truth : We can reconcile grief and grow through it. It may take several years.

There is no magic timetable. Culture is fully embedded in each of us.


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Our culture shapes who we are and what we believe. Faith, culture and values drive us each day of our lives. Culture, faith and values touch us in death as well. Obviously, our values and culture do not always reflect the values and culture of those we care for. Before talking to a family about death, dying and grief, it is extremely helpful to consider their culture and faith before proceeding.

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Like many other people, Hispanics may be hesitant to plan for or talk about death. In his book, Understanding Grief: Helping Yourself Heal , Alan Wolfelt describes seven stages of grief that apply to all in the healthcare community but also to our patients and families. As providers, we can help ourselves by understanding these stages. We can help our families by validating that these emotions are normal and part of the grieving process. Before we can help our grieving families, it can be productive to examine our own grief patterns and interventions. Hospitals now recognize that letting clinicians and non-clinicians decompress—through talking groups, counseling or a few minutes of quiet time-is good for the soul and for the quality of patient care.

Reviewing our support network and defining those in the network who have provided care and follow-up is a great start. The support network can include family, friends, and co-workers. To help sort out our own dealings with death and fully grieve ourselves, it can be helpful to work through the following self-assessment exercise:.


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  4. As healthcare providers, our support and care of families does not end with the death of the loved one. A personal call or note of care and concern can be very much appreciated. Tangibly let family members know they are cared for, supported, and being remembered. Encourage families to know that it is acceptable to talk about the person who died.

    It may be timely to offer a list of grief support groups.

    What we know

    Know that even though people may look good on the outside, they may be hiding pain underneath the surface. Avoid putting a time limit on grief. Allow family members to cry. Know that sitting in silence with a family is beneficial. Help people create grief rituals such as making a memory wreath or starting a journal.

    What we know

    Talk with family about availability of counselors. Emphasize that it is not necessary to find something positive about the death. Try not to run away from the subject of the death. You can empathize but not sympathize. Provide families with a list of helpful quotes such as the following:.

    For all of us who grieve, we must start by acknowledging the reality of the death. We must embrace the pain of the death and not run away from it. To run away deepens the void and postpones effective grieving. We must do the work of remembering the person. This work of mourning provides a link to the memories and pursuit of relationship with the deceased. Recognize that the death of a loved one changes our identity. Death moves us from husband, wife to widower or widow. Death has changed who we are and who we will be but it does not change our love and remembrance.

    Know that the meaning of the death can be elusive. There is meaning in death. Encourage families to have patience with this task of mourning. Mourners should consider allowing the ongoing support from others. People in the caring circle need to feel as though they contribute in some meaningful way. Allowing others to help can provide solid support and an outlet for their grief as well. Finally, it will be critical to reconcile or make peace with the grief. Bereavement is the period of grieving experienced by family and friends in response to the death of a loved one. A wide range of negative health outcomes for older adults are associated with bereavement.

    Understanding bereavement and how to support positive health behaviours of older adults is an important endeavour and consistent with the philosophy of palliative care. Go to Evidence Summary. What can I do? If you are unsure on how to help older adults manage their grief, refer to the Guide to bereavement assessment and support. Normalising grief can be supportive e. How can I help? You may recognise that someone may benefit from financial support.

    Provide information of Bereavement Allowance. If relevant, use Tool to distinguish depression from normal grief. What can I learn? Understanding grief.

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