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The Development of a Hospital-Wide Bereavement Program: Ensuring Bereavement Care for All Families of Pediatric Patients

Journal title
Journal of pediatric health care : official publication of National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates & Practitioners
Publication year
Morris, S. E.; Dole, O. R.; Joselow, M.; Duncan, J.; Renaud, K.; Branowicki, P.

Although grief is a normal response to loss, the death of a child is believed to be one of the most difficult losses a person can endure, and bereaved parents are considered to be an "at-risk" group. Even though most deaths of children in the United States occur in hospitals, bereavement care provided by hospitals is highly variable, and little attention has been directed to how hospitals can best support grieving parents. In this article, we describe the development of a hospital-wide bereavement program at Boston Children’s Hospital, where we conceptualize bereavement care as a preventive model of care. We identify the primary constructs of the program as education, guidance, and support and outline a template for use by other hospitals. We recommend that all pediatric hospitals implement basic, coordinated bereavement programs as the standard of care to ensure that all families receive bereavement care after the death of a patient.

Research abstracts