Being a bereavement-conscious hospice and palliative care clinician

JOURNAL OF HOSPICE & PALLIATIVE NURSING, 2021;23(4):293-295. Quality bereavement care begins before the death of a patient. Because family members so often struggle with distress surrounding the patients end-of-life (EoL) experience, palliative and hospice nurses can be intentional with patient care in a way that minimizes the potential for regret, guilt, and rumination about the patient’s suffering. That is, nurses can play a critical role in the provision of bereavement-conscious patient care. This includes, for example, provision of education about the death process and reassurances about how the patient’s suffering is being addressed. It also includes engaging family in EoL conversations that help them prepare for the possibility of loss and joining in with them in decision-making. Investigations designed to improve advance care planning … can be construed as bereavement care studies. Another example of bereavement-conscious patient care would be the careful timing of a terminal extubation, so that the medical team can be at the bedside to honor the patient and so the family can say goodbye and be present for the patient’s death. 

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DEATH STUDIES | Online – 24 July 2021 – ‘Counselor preparedness to counsel grieving clients: Insights and implications.’ Research suggests that counselors are not receiving adequate training in grief counseling. In this study, 11 counselors shared their training and experiences counseling clients grieving a death-related loss. Five themes – 1) Personal dynamics of the counselor; 2) Missing preparation and desired training; 3) Perceived counselor responsibilities; 4) The client-counselor relationship; and, 5) Revolving systemic factors – were identified to capture the experiences influencing their perceived preparedness for counseling this population. The findings highlight the need to infuse grief and loss into course curricula and supervision to promote foundational understanding.