Reply To: Bereavement follow up

  • Sherry Spehr

    November 20, 2014 at 7:22 am

    Just yesterday, our bereavement committee was discussing this topic.  We are looking into different types of support group models in hopes of forming one at our hospital.  Currently, our hospital chaplain facilitates the bereavement committee.  She has organized an annual grief awareness day for the employees.  She also hosts an annual memorial service.  All families who have lost a child in the past two years are invited and an average of 250 attend each year.Some come back year after year.  In addition, the dates of death are tracked and support letters are sent quarterly for the first year and then annually.  Our home care department also follows the families and and contacts all families from our palliative care patients on the same schedule.  

    On staff, we have a family support specialist.  He is often linked with the patient during treatment and then offers his services for as long as needed.  She often works with parents and siblings for years after a child’s death.  For our staff, the chaplain and bereavement team reach out to employees after a child’s death, however, most of the time, staff gain support from reaching out to one another and do not utilize the counseling offered.

    We do not, however, have a formal support group for either families or staff. We have a few community-run support groups in our city where we refer families. I would be interested in hearing any information you have received.  What types of groups are offered?  Who facilitates the groups?  Are groups well attended?  

    Sherry Spehr
    Vandalia, OH
    United States

    Original Message:
    Sent: 06-18-2014 03:05 PM
    From: Patricia Conlon
    Subject: Bereavement follow up

    This message has been cross posted to the following Discussions: Nurse Managers and Inpatient Staff Hospital Issues .

    We have been trying to improve bereavement follow up for families and would appreciate some feedback from you on your process.

    Do you have a formal bereavement support program for families? If so, who coordinates it?

    Are families contacted to see how they are doing? If so, how often does this happen and for how long after the child’s death?

    Are support services offered to staff also? If so, what is offered?
    Thanks in advance,

    Patricia Conlon, CNS
    Mayo Clinic
    Rochester, MN
    United States