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Grief Counseling Courses: How to Handle a Patient’s Death from Nurse Together

Grief Counseling Courses

Death is a very final event. It is the end of our physical life as we know it.  Many cultures and populations follow special mannerisms or traditions in order to transition a person and loved one from this world. For the living, sometimes it is a method of meaningful closure through environmental control and the provision of physical, emotional, and medical comfort to the person in need. There are times, however, when control and comfort are not possible due to unforeseen, emergent, or extenuating circumstances or when the individual is hospitalized with a suddenly poor prognosis. How do families and friends handle these situations? Similarly, when death occurs in the hospital setting, how do nurses and hospital staff handle it? Is there significant emotional distress associated with patient death? What do nurses do to relieve this potential burden on themselves?—The answer is cope through care.

Today, many healthcare facilities are now handling patient death as a recognized method of care practice (Capitulo, 2005). They have acknowledged the need to implement practices and approaches of care and comfort during times of bereavement not only for the dying patient, but also for the patient’s family and friends. Subsequently, such implementation of bereavement protocols has also been found to aid the primary nurse and their co-workers deal with or effectively cope with loss of a patient-whether anticipated or unexpected (Ellershaw, 2003).

Many are familiar with terms like end-of-life, palliative care, or comfort care, but how many of you are familiar with Seeds of Hope? A colleague of mine at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center (SJHHC) in Syracuse, NY has developed a program called Seeds of Hope where nursing and ancillary staff provide special, end-of-life care for patients and their families. A bonus outcome to the program is that staff members are finding that they are also receiving care and closure themselves.

Please also review our Grief counseling courses.  If you qualify, by taking the required grief counseling courses, you can become certified.

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