Supporting people through loss and grief is an essential component of care for people approaching and reaching the end of their lives, their families and carers.
Grief is a normal and inevitable response to loss, and can affect every part of a person’s life (ACGB, 2014). Grief occurs within social and cultural contexts in which it takes place.
Bereavement – the loss of a loved one through death – is a normal, common human experience. Although it is associated with a period of acute suffering, most people adapt to their loss over time (Stroebe et al, 2007).
Grief and bereavement support encompasses the 'entire experience of family members and friends in the anticipation, death, and subsequent adjustment to living following the death of a loved one' (Christ et al, 2003).
To deliver the highest standard of care there is a requirement to ensure that the patient, their family carers have access to bereavement care, information and support services.
Most people who experience grief do not require specialist counselling, but would benefit from reassurance and acknowledgement of their losses, and access to information.
Care providers across all settings can play a role in supporting families and carers through their loss and grief.