Home | News | The right to grieve: coping with the death of a patient or client

The right to grieve: coping with the death of a patient or client

It's not abnormal to feel grief when a client or patient dies.

Marie-Anne Schull, from palliative care provider Karuna, offered this reassurance in an interview with Nursing Review. Her comments followed Karuna’s survey of 100 nurses that revealed nearly 70 per cent felt that the grief and loss they experience was an issue for them at work.

“Healthcare and nursing home staff form significant relationships with their clients, patients and residents so it is not surprising that they can experience grief and loss as a result of their work,” Schull said prior to the interview. “Their experience of loss is often overlooked and ignored and many report burnout and mental health problems as a result.”

Schull said workplace grief and loss impacted on the ability of employees to perform their roles, and added they were more likely to be absent, struggle to concentrate, lack energy and suffer fatigue, indecisiveness and a short temper.

“What we found is that health staff overwhelmingly want further support to cope with the day to day reality of grief and loss that surrounds them at work,” Schull said.

In the interview, Schull discussed some of the complexities of losing a client or resident as well as potential coping strategies.

Click here to learn more about Karuna's program and training workshop.

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One comment

  1. Nursing Home staff become part of a resident’s family and interact with them on a daily basis and this makes it very hard for staff to cope especially when the person has been at the facility for an extensive time

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