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Interventions in the acute hospital setting to help children facing bereavement
  1. Lindsay Hall1,
  2. Jackie Browne2,
  3. Roz Bexon1,
  4. Mary Bleakley1,
  5. Angela Cheadle3
  1. 1Macmillan Nurse, Hospital Palliative Care Team, Queen's Medical Centre Campus, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  2. 2Child Bereavement Facilitator, Nottingham Children's Hospital, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
  3. 3Manager, Spiral at Family Care (Nottingham), Childhood Bereavement Service
  1. Correspondence to lindsay.hall{at}nuh.nhs.uk, jackie.browne{at}nuh.nhs.uk

Abstract

An important aspect of end-of-life care in the acute hospital setting is caring for the whole family, including children and young people. Children and young people may be unseen and unheard by hospital staff. However, they are still affected by the forthcoming death of someone close to them. Early and proactive interventions to support children and young people facing bereavement can help them to adapt to loss. Although education can support nurses in addressing the needs of children and young people facing bereavement, a cultural shift is required so that hospital nurses recognise their responsibility to help adults prepare children for the forthcoming death. Enabling children and young people to express their needs, be part of the dying process if they so wish and create resources to help their future memories of the person who is dying or has died can foster resilience in the face of loss. This article outlines a joint project that was run by adult and children's services in an acute hospital trust and a charitable organisation, which led to the development of written information to help adults prepare and support children at this challenging and uncertain time. It discusses the barriers and concerns expressed by hospital nurses in relation to offering family-centred end-of-life care in an adult acute care environment.

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