Si le deuil compliqué est aujourd’hui une entité clinique reconnue chez l’adulte, il reste encore particulièrement difficile à appréhender chez l’enfant, tout comme le sont les autres complications du deuil. Dans le présent article, nous rappelons d’abord la spécificité du deuil chez l’enfant. Puis, nous évoquons ce qu’il en est des complications du deuil infantile. Et finalement, nous abordons les perspectives de prises en charge possibles de ces enfants et de leurs proches dans ces contextes si spécifiques de deuil compliqué.
Une « bonne mort », un deuil serein, cela existe, mais la recherche en parle bien peu. En fait, ce sont les trajectoires difficiles et les embuches sous-jacentes qui font surtout l’objet des études, avec raison d’ailleurs puisque l’objectif relève souvent de la volonté d’offrir aux personnes endeuillées un accompagnement qui réponde à leurs besoins.
PURPOSE: Family caregivers of a loved one with a life-limiting or terminal illness are often overwhelmed by, and underprepared for, their responsibilities. They often need help from family members and friends to provide comprehensive care. When death occurs, funerals and other death-related rituals bring family and communities together to honor the life and mourn the death of a loved one and provide needed support to family and caregivers. These collective rituals are often deeply rooted in culturally-bound values and can facilitate grief and help make sense about loss. Rituals act as bridge-building activities that allow people to organize and appraise emotions, information, and actions after a loss. With the emergence of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the recommended restrictions to reduce infection and transmission, family members and caregivers are often faced with weighing options for honored rituals to help them grieve. Grieving during the pandemic has become disorganized. The purpose of this article is to provide case managers and other clinical staff with recommendations on guiding caregivers/families through safety precautions when a loved one dies either because of a life-limiting illness or from COVID-19 during the pandemic using guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The authors also present information about complicated grief and ways to support coping with death and suggest safe alternatives to traditional death-related rituals and funerals in a COVID-19 era.
PRIMARY PRACTICE SETTING(S): Primary practice settings include home health care, hospice, hospital discharge planning, case management, and primary care.
FINDINGS/CONCLUSIONS: Precautions necessary in a COVID-19 era may add anxiety and stress to an already difficult situation of caring for loved ones at end-of-life and grieving with their loss. Utilization of CDC guidelines lessens the risk of infection while honoring loved ones' wishes and cultural traditions surrounding death and burial. Recognition of social and spiritual connections that comfort mourners must also be considered.
IMPLICATIONS FOR CASE MANAGEMENT PRACTICE: .
BACKGROUND: A recent randomized trial of bereaved family members of patients who died in an intensive care unit identified symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress in recipients of semistructured condolence letters.
OBJECTIVES: To explore family member and clinician experiences with receiving or sending handwritten sympathy cards upon the death of patients involved in a personalized end-of-life intervention, the 3 Wishes Project.
METHODS: Interviews and focus groups were held with 171 family members and 222 clinicians at 4 centers to discuss their experiences with the 3 Wishes Project. Interview transcripts were searched to identify participants who discussed sympathy cards. Data related to sympathy cards were independently coded by 2 investigators through conventional content analysis.
RESULTS: Sympathy cards were discussed during 32 interviews (by 25 family members of 21 patients and by 11 clinicians) and 2 focus groups (8 other clinicians). Family members reported that personalized sympathy cards were a welcome surprise; they experienced them as a heartfelt act of compassion. Clinicians viewed cards as an opportunity to express shared humanity with families, reminding them that they and their loved one were not forgotten. Signing cards allowed clinicians to reminisce individually and collectively with colleagues. Family members and clinicians experienced sympathy cards as a meaningful continuation of care after a patient's death.
CONCLUSIONS: Inviting clinicians who cared for deceased patients to offer personalized, handwritten condolences to bereaved family members may cultivate sincere and individualized expressions of sympathy that bereaved families appreciate after the death of patients involved in the 3 Wishes Project.
Entretien avec trois professionnelles du funéraire, et en particulier de la crémation, à propos des rites mis en oeuvre dans le cadre de leur intervention. Quel est l'impact de l'accomplissement de rites funéraires dans le déroulement du deuil ? Des directives du défunt sur le devenir de son propre corps et la conduite de la cérémonie ? Du devenir des cendres ?
L'action du Collectif revêt deux formes. La première est un réseau d'accompagnement qui, alerté par les services funéraires municipaux dès qu'ils ont connaissance des funérailles d'une personne isolée, se mobilise selon les disponibilités de chacun pour être présent. L'objectif étant que nul ne soit inhumé sans une présence citoyenne et fraternelle. La deuxième consiste en l'organisation d'une cérémonie annuelle sous la présidence du maire. Il s'agit de rendre hommage à toutes les personnes accompagnées l'année précédente.
Les mesures de confinement qui prévalent dans plus d'une centaine de pays touchés par la pandémie de COVID-19 ont bouleversé de manière tragique l'accompagnement des personnes en fin de vie et le processus de deuil de leurs proches aidants. Dans cet article, nous recensons les écrits sur le deuil et analysons les conséquences potentielles du contexte de pandémie sur l'expérience des individus endeuillés. Ensuite, nous explorons les modalités de soutien alternatives qui s'offrent aux personnes éprouvées par la perte d'un proche en raison de la pandémie. Puis, en nous appuyant sur la littérature répertoriée et sur le modèle des communautés compatissantes, nous présentons le projet "J'accompagne", dont la mission est de créer une communauté virtuelle de soutien autour des proches aidants et des endeuillés par la COVID-19.
Cet ouvrage rend compte d'un accompagnement pour les parents qui ont perdu un bébé pendant la grossesse ou dans les semaines qui suivent la naissance : « Les groupes de parole de parents endeuillés. » Il s'adresse aux parents et aux professionnels. Il peut être une aide précieuse pour tous ces parents qui vivent une souffrance sans commune mesure avec la mort de leur bébé et aux professionnels qui les rencontrent dans ce temps du deuil périnatal. La conjugaison de la parole, du témoignage des parents et de l'analyse clinique des séances nous indique le traumatisme, la double perte auxquels les parents sont confrontés : la perte de leur enfant et la menace d'une perte du sens de la vie. La situation groupale ainsi que la force de la pensée et de la parole permettent de prendre en compte la complexité de la situation. Ce dispositif met en perspective le cheminement et les ressources des parents au fil des séances.
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Les auteurs décrivent les différents aspects du processus de deuil périnatal afin de faciliter l'accompagnement des familles touchées par ce drame. Ils citent notamment les risques psychopathologiques qui peuvent découler de cet événement bouleversant l'ordre des générations, tels que la dépression, les troubles anxieux ou le stress post-traumatique.
Objectives: National guidance recommends equality in access to bereavement services; despite this, awareness and availability appears inconsistent. The aim of this study was to explore availability and accessibility of bereavement services across the North-East of England and to highlight issues potentially applicable across the UK, at a time of unprecedented need due to the impact of COVID-19.
Methods: Phase 1: an eight item, web-based survey was produced. A survey link was cascaded to all GP practices (General Practitioners) in the region. Phase 2: an email was sent to all services identified in phase 1, requesting details such as referral criteria and waiting times.
Results: All 392 GP practices in the region were invited to participate. The response rate was 22% (85/392). Twenty-one per cent (18/85) of respondents reported that they do not refer patients, comments included ‘not aware of any services locally’. A total of 36 services were contacted with 72% responding with further information. Most bereavement specific support was reliant on charity-funded services including hospices, this sometimes required a pre-existing link with the hospice. Waiting times were up to 4 months.
Conclusions: Although multiple different, usually charity-funded services were identified, awareness and accessibility were variable. This survey was conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, where complex situations surrounding death is likely to impact on the usual grieving process and increase the need for bereavement support. Meanwhile, charities providing this support are under severe financial strain. There is an urgent need to bridge the gap between need and access to bereavement services.
In England, a child death review process must be undertaken when a child dies, regardless of the cause of death. Scotland and Wales have their own version of the child death review process, while it is the author's understanding that Northern Ireland are still developing their process. An important aspect of this process is family engagement and bereavement support. This article is an introduction to the bereavement support standards developed by the National Children's Hospitals Bereavement Network, a newly formed group of specialist children's nurses and allied health professionals interested in bereavement care. These standards translate the statutory requirements into practical guidance for healthcare professionals working in children's hospitals in the UK or district general hospitals that offer services for children and families. They also apply to NHS trusts that care for children and need to develop a local policy and workforce with the appropriate skills to provide bereavement care, thereby improving the experiences of families and healthcare professionals. The standards would also be applicable to other NHS trusts and healthcare services in the UK who want to develop an approach to bereavement care and support for families.
BACKGROUND: Although Motor Neurone Disease (MND) caregivers are most challenged physically and psychologically, there is a paucity of population-based research to investigate the impact of bereavement, unmet needs, range of supports, and their helpfulness as perceived by bereaved MND caregivers.
Methods: An anonymous national population-based cross-sectional postal and online survey of bereavement experiences of family caregivers who lost a relative/friend to MND in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Recruitment was through all MND Associations in Australia.
Results: 393 valid responses were received (31% response rate). Bereaved caregiver deterioration in physical (31%) and mental health (42%) were common. Approximately 40% did not feel their support needs were met. Perceived insufficiency of support was higher for caregivers at high bereavement risk (63%) and was associated with a significant worsening of their mental and physical health. The majority accessed support from family and friends followed by MND Associations, GPs, and funeral providers. Informal supports were reported to be the most helpful. Sources of professional help were the least used and they were perceived to be the least helpful.
Conclusions: This study highlights the need for a new and enhanced approach to MND bereavement care involving a caregiver risk and needs assessment as a basis for a tailored "goodness of fit" support plan. This approach requires continuity of care, more resources, formal plans, and enhanced training for professionals, as well as optimizing community capacity. MND Associations are well-positioned to support affected families before and after bereavement but may require additional training and resources to fulfill this role.
Effective communication is the foundation of quality care in palliative nursing. As frontline palliative home care providers, nurses could foster more effective bereavement coping skills through therapeutic conversations. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a nursing intervention offered to bereaved family cancer caregivers. This was a quasi-experimental design, with a posttest-only comparison of the intervention and control groups receiving usual care. Bereaved caregivers (n = 51) receiving services from a specialized palliative home care unit participated and completed measures of depression, anxiety, stress, and grief reactions 3, 5, and 6 months after their close relative had died.
There was a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms in the intervention group compared with the control group across all 3 time points. Anxiety and stress symptoms also decreased over time in the 2 groups combined, but this decrease was not observed for depression. When evaluating grief reactions, the intervention group had a lower mean of controlled grief responses, across the posttest period, than the control group.
Results demonstrate that providing bereaved family caregivers the opportunity to participate in a therapeutic conversation intervention might reduce distressing symptoms in early bereavement.
Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate formal bereavement debriefing sessions after infant death on neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) staff.
Study Design: Prospective mixed methods study. Pre- and postbereavement debriefing intervention surveys were sent to clinical staff. Evaluation surveys were distributed to participants after each debriefing session. Notes on themes were taken during each session.
Results: More staff attended sessions (p < 0.0001) and attended more sessions (p < 0.0001) during the postdebriefing intervention epoch compared with the predebriefing epoch. Stress levels associated with the death of a patient whose family the care provider have developed a close relationship with decreased (p = 0.0123). An increased number of debriefing session participants was associated with infant age at the time of death (p = 0.03). Themes were (1) family and provider relationships, (2) evaluation of the death, (3) team cohesion, (4) caring for one another, and (5) emotional impact.
Conclusion: Bereavement debriefings for NICU staff reduced the stress of caring for dying infants and contributed to staff well-being.
Although bereavement programs are a common element of palliative medicine and hospice programs, few maternal-fetal care centers offer universal bereavement outreach services following perinatal loss. In this article, we describe the implementation of a bereavement outreach program at the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The four primary goals identified when developing the bereavement outreach protocol included: (1) centralize communication for patient tracking when a perinatal loss occurs, (2) provide individualized and consistent resource support for grieving patients and families, (3) identify strategic outreach points throughout the first year post-loss, and (4) instate programmatic improvements in response to feedback from patients and their families. Strategies for establishing standardized follow-up protocols and operationalizing methods to address outreach initiatives will be shared, with the primary aim of providing other fetal care centers with a proposed model for perinatal bereavement outreach services.
BACKGROUND: The global COVID-19 pandemic has left health and social care systems facing the challenge of supporting large numbers of bereaved people in difficult and unprecedented social conditions. Previous reviews have not comprehensively synthesised the evidence on the response of health and social care systems to mass bereavement events.
AIM: To synthesise the evidence regarding system-level responses to mass bereavement events, including natural and human-made disasters as well as pandemics, to inform service provision and policy during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
DESIGN: A rapid systematic review was conducted, with narrative synthesis. The review protocol was registered prospectively (www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero, CRD 42020180723).
DATA SOURCES: MEDLINE, Global Health, PsycINFO and Scopus databases were searched for studies published between 2000 and 2020. Reference lists were screened for further relevant publications, and citation tracking was performed.
RESULTS: Six studies were included reporting on system responses to mass bereavement following human-made and natural disasters, involving a range of individual and group-based support initiatives. Positive impacts were reported, but study quality was generally low and reliant on data from retrospective evaluation designs. Key features of service delivery were identified: a proactive outreach approach, centrally organised but locally delivered interventions, event-specific professional competencies and an emphasis on psycho-educational content.
CONCLUSION: Despite the limitations in the quantity and quality of the evidence base, consistent messages are identified for bereavement support provision during the pandemic. High quality primary studies are needed to ensure service improvement in the current crisis and to guide future disaster response efforts.
Dying is a natural part of life; however, death is often a fearful, frightening event. Dying in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic presents challenges that magnify normative fears and may interfere with a healthy grieving process. To maintain a resilient spirit among those who are at risk of losing a loved one or who have lost a family member to COVID-19, it is important that they be provided with the necessary contextually and culturally appropriate skills and resources to facilitate healing in the face of hardship and uncertainty.
OBJECTIVE: This qualitative study sought to obtain feedback from stakeholder cancer caregivers and bereaved family members on the implementation of bereavement risk screening in oncology.
METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 family members of patients with advanced cancer (n=12) and bereaved family members (n=26) on when and how to effectively implement bereavement risk screening. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Many participants indicated that they would be open to completing a self-report screening measure before and after the patient's death. Several suggested screening at multiple timepoints and the importance of follow-up. Participants viewed screening as an opportunity to connect to psychosocial support.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that family members appear supportive of sensitively-approached bereavement risk screening before and after a patient's death as an important component of quality psychosocial care. To optimize implementation, bereavement risk screening would involve screening at multiple timepoints and include follow-up. Findings suggest standardized risk screening using a brief, validated self-report tool would be a pragmatic approach to increasing access to bereavement care.